Déjà vu all over again
Remember 2012? No, neither do I, but this time five years ago the biggest deal in eHealth was the imminent launch of a fab new national IT project that heralded the dawn of a new age in healthcare. This system would link health professionals together, improve the flow of information throughout the entire health system, save the government eleventy billion dollars in needlessly duplicated lab tests, and better yet, allow patients to see their own health information for the very first time.
And it was just four years ago that the minister for health at the time, Tanya Plibersek, fronted up at the HIC conference and announced a massive $8 million grant to NEHTA to get pathology and diagnostic imaging onto the system. This was greeted as big news by Pulse+IT and by everyone else. Test results were going to be the deal breaker, the game changer, the thing that would put the PC in the PCEHR.
Well, four years and more than $1.5 billion later, the good news is that it's actually beginning to happen. (Patience is a virtue, people.) NSW Health began uploading pathology reports last month, and just last week, the first private pathology provider in Sullivan Nicolaides signed on. And this week, it was the turn of another Sonic subsidiary in Queensland X-Ray, which is set to be the first to upload diagnostic imaging reports while everyone tries to come up with a solution as to how to also link the images themselves.
It has been a hard road since those halcyon days of 2012 and 2013, and going by some of our most popular stories this week, it looks like the states are making big gains where the feds have in the past led the way. WA is sorting out its secure messaging process to GPs, Victoria is linking its hospital MRNs to the national HI Service, Queensland is doing all sorts of interesting stuff, and as we reported last week, NSW is steadily getting things done.
Is there actual movement at the station in the publicly funded eHealth sector in Australia? It looks likely, which is good, but we'll be expecting a bit more from now on, what with the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Digital Health Agency fast approaching. NEHTA had a decade to do its work, such as it was; we doubt anyone will have the patience for ADHA to do the same.
That leads us to our poll question for this week. Given it has a new structure, more responsibilities and higher expectations, do you give ADHA a pass or a fail for its work over the last year?
Our poll last week asked: Are the $305m in savings banked in the budget likely to be realised? Nope, says a big majority: 85 per cent to 15 per cent in the affirmative.