Either there's a big announcement of some sort in next week's budget or the Department of Health just moves at a glacial pace, but this week saw the belated release of the evaluation report on the opt-out trials of the My Health Record held last year, six months after it was submitted.
Unsurprisingly, the evaluation found in favour of opt-out, as did the vast majority of consumers and healthcare providers surveyed. Many consumers also thought it should be compulsory for providers to participate in the system – which would cause a mass revolt from doctors and is never going to happen – and they seemed to display far less concern over privacy and security than the privacy crowd pontificates about.
The memorable phrase first coined by Adelaide GP Tori Wade that telehealth in Australia has “more pilots than Qantas” got a nice little workout at the Australian Telehealth Conference (ATC2017) in Melbourne this week, but while it may be in vogue for a little bit longer, the consensus seems to be that we are beginning to see the move from itty bitty pilot projects to embedding telehealth as business as usual in the provision of healthcare.
That may not necessarily be true as yet in primary care, predominantly due to the funding model, but it is certainly beginning to be seen in secondary care, particularly for outpatients services for rural patients and but also in emergency care in regional areas where specialists are hard to come by. All states and territories are now taking telehealth seriously, even the small ones, and a lot of the thanks for that is due to a mixture of political enthusiasm for sexy tech but also the hard yards that a number of clinical groups in a number of states have done over the years.
Besides a ramble from a slightly unhinged Pulse+IT journalist last week, which turned out to be our most-read article, the big news this week was the sale of specialist software vendor Genie Solutions to a proudly ethical private equity firm. The value of the deal is confidential but we understand it is substantial and so it should be.
Founder Paul Carr and his extended family deserve all the financial benefits that come from having done the hard yards to build Genie into a popular product and a substantial Australian health IT company over the last 22 years.