Kelsey calls time at ADHA
As the year draws to a close so has Tim Kelsey's time at the Australian Digital Health Agency. Mr Kelsey is off to do something exciting in analytics at HIMSS, best known for its digital adoption maturity models, but he will remain living in Australia so we expect him to pop up now and then in Pulse+IT.
In a sign-off email, Mr Kelsey said he was proud of what had been collectively achieved at ADHA, including that Australia has a national digital health strategy which all its governments have agreed to. Mr Kelsey was predominantly responsible for writing that strategy and it's quite a good one, with defined steps and timelines that might be achievable with the right will.
We take a bit of issue with his claim that 22 million Australians now have an online summary of their key health information through the My Health Record. They don't yet as most of the records are merely an empty shell yet to be filled, and no one can claim that the My Health Record has been a success since its inception seven years ago. It may in the future, but this is only the beginning.
The rest of the strategic priorities Mr Kelsey highlights – interoperability standards, electronic prescribing, digital baby books and pregnancy records, care plans for older people and those with chronic illnesses – are still very much works in progress. And we're afraid that much as he is enamoured of it, the Global Digital Health Partnership initiative Mr Kelsey was involved in setting up isn't a blip on the radar for most in the digital health community.
There's no doubt that Mr Kelsey's appointment three years ago, not long after having arrived in Australia to work for Telstra Health, was controversial at the time, but he has handled himself well enough. The toxic atmosphere that existed within the eHealth community during the NEHTA days has dissipated somewhat with the advent of ADHA, but you still get a big whiff of it at times.
The agency has announced that an interim CEO will be appointed while a search for a permanent replacement for Mr Kelsey is undertaken. It had a ready-made candidate in Bettina McMahon, but unfortunately she's been allowed to pick up her bat and ball and go home. Ms McMahon would have provided a very steady hand at the wheel to usher in the strategic priorities still to be achieved, particularly in areas such as interoperability standards and electronic prescribing, so it is a shame she hasn't been given a chance.
Pulse+IT spent most of the week reminiscing about the year in eHealth for our regular end-of-year round-up, and it is notable that while still topical, stories about the My Health Record no longer dominate our most popular articles list.
Assorted eruptions of drama at Queensland Health, a troubled hospital in the northern beaches of Sydney and a number of tenders for electronic medical records were of great interest to Australian readers, as was the saga of the ransomware attack on Victorian hospitals. In New Zealand, it was the new direction at the Ministry of Health, the tribulations of preferred PMS processes and Tu Ora Compass Health's unfortunate experience with hackers that stole the headlines.
Pulse+IT will be on hiatus until January 13 so we hope you enjoy our look back on the year in eHealth, which we will be running all next week. This will be the last blog for the year, and for our last poll for the year, we thought we'd ask for your thoughts on 2019. Will 2020 be a better year for eHealth than 2019? Feel free to tell us why in our comments below or our Pulse+IT Chat site.
Last week we asked: Should consumers be able to share their My Health Record data with their insurance company if they wish? Our readers were evenly split on this question: 50 per cent said yes, 50 per cent no.
We hope you all have a very pleasant Christmas and New Year.
Best wishes from Abbey, Emily, Hamid, Kate and Simon.