Pulse+IT Blog

Oracle's Cerner rebranding exercise gathers momentum

We’ve been watching the progress of the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ EHR modernisation project for quite a few years now, fascinated by what is a mammoth undertaking at a frankly quite extortionate cost. The $US16 billion project was controversial from the beginning, with an aged and yet beloved bespoke system called VistA ripped out to make way for Cerner’s Millennium EMR across numerous VA hospitals and health facilities, linked to the Department of Defense and the US Coast Guard.

The first small sites went live Ohio and Washington in 2020 and immediately ran into problems, which in turn has delayed proposed implementations at larger sites. Concerns have also been raised the price tag for the 10-year project may double or even triple and rival the GDP of a small country. This has led to intense speculation that if the problems aren’t fixed, the whole project may be scrapped.

Everything ageing is new again

The first sitting week of the new Australian parliament got off to a roaring start on Monday, with some very fresh faces looking very pleased with themselves and a pretty good vibe that this parliament might be a little more constructive than the small target promised before the election.

Most pleasing was the fast-tracking of legislation to reform the Aged Care Act, which was one of four big issues canvassed by the new government this week. The legislation had of course been written before the election but the previous government’s legislative incompetence meant it was gathering dust on the shelf. Two bills got their second reading yesterday and the reforms are set to sail through pretty quickly.

Pulse+IT launches aged, community and disability care technology edition

Pulse+IT has today launched a new aged, community and disability care edition of its popular eNewsletters, featuring a weekly round-up of the latest health IT and digital health news for the sector in Australia and New Zealand.

Predominantly targeting the residential and in-home aged care sectors, it will also cover the use of information technology in community care, including mental health, and disability care.

Telehealth tussle still a toss up but is all hell about to break loose in NSW?

The ongoing saga that is federally funded telehealth policy dominated the start of the week in Australian health IT, but at the end of it, we were hearing some pretty startling news about the direction that eHealth NSW is thinking of taking with its single digital patient record (SDPR) project.

The doctors’ lobby groups managed to get the Department of Health and Aged Care to change its mind on dropping the level C telephone consult item for COVID-19 antivirals, but that is as far as the department seems will to budge at this stage. The combined wrath of the college of GPs, the AMA and even the Royal Australian College of Physicians has been let loose on the department through submissions to the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) recently announced audit of the expansion of telehealth services.

Progress on eReferrals, early stages for electronic DI requesting

The big news this week came out of the west, where WA Health has finally gone to tender for a new electronic referral solution to replace the SharePoint system it has used for many years. WA Health has a centralised referrals processing system for its metropolitan hospitals and SharePoint would have done the job in the past, but newer technology has fast overtaken it.

WA Health says just over a quarter of referrals to its public hospitals are done by secure messaging and it appears faxes and letters rein supreme otherwise. It would be a surprise if the situation is any different between GPs and private specialists. There’s a lot of easily available, cheap and very good secure messaging technology out there, so it appears that the referrals management system (RMS) will be central to this project. WA Health is looking for a new RMS that also has to integrate with webPAS and its internal eReferrals system. That’s where a lot of the complexity of eReferrals comes to the fore.

Six reasons to be optimistic that IT can help aged care reform

It was a pretty good turnout at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens Racecourse this week for the annual ITAC conference, which was heavy on policy discussions surrounding the release of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report last year and the election of a new federal government this year that has made aged care reform one of its highest priorities.

That description would normally put the fear of god into the average punter but this year, something was different. Information technology in aged care is often one of the forgotten topics in the wider health IT and digital health sector, but in Australia at least, never has it been more important. And in our opinion, never before has there been such confidence that progress will actually be made in leveraging IT to assist in the fundamental reform of the aged care system.

The tide is high and it’s moving on

To coin a phrase, time does move quite slowly in the aged care sector, but in the last decade in Australia at least, recognition that aged care has been severely ignored to the point of criminal neglect has finally filtered through. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, driven by some seriously good journalism from the ABC along with the long-term efforts of whistleblowers, has revealed what can only be described as an abject state of affairs in the residential aged care sector in Australia. And who knows what goes on it community aged and disability care.

Thankfully, the Royal Commission has been proved to have been a massive wake-up call and all sides of politics have committed to trying to fix the problem. It will be increasingly difficult as workers desert the industry due to low pay and over work, and that is something everyone really needs to come to grips with. Even with a newly elected government promising 24/7 registered nurses, an increase in weekly minutes spent on direct care per resident and more money spent on better food, the problems aren’t going to go away soon.

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