Pulse+IT Blog

Pegasus PMS dream comes a cropper

The difficulties that new entrants into health IT markets face were writ large this week when Pegasus Health, the main primary healthcare organisation covering general practices in Christchurch and surrounds, finally had to throw in the towel on its venture to co-develop and roll out a new practice management system for its 90 or so members.

A few other PHOs have followed in Pegasus' path of exploring the market for a new preferred PMS that suits contemporary and future general practice. The other three big PHOs in NZ's big cities – ProCare in Auckland, Pinnacle in Hamilton and Compass in Wellington – have all gone through a preferred PMS process and all have recommended migrating from incumbent Medtech to another vendor.

Usual suspects expected to line up for ACT EMR

ACT Health released a tender for a comprehensive digital health record this week, revealing that the record is intended to be much more than just an electronic medical record for its three hospitals.

The ACT government has allocated $70 million over four years for its digital spend, in addition to the $11 million it has already put up for a new laboratory information system, the winning tenderer for which should be announced shortly.

A tale of two tech sites

Health IT and horrible literary allusions got mixed together this week for Pulse+IT's brains trust as we pondered the tales of two different EMR implementations in two different cities. Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne had the best of times, our story on its Epic implementation from last week racking up a huge amount of hits on our site. It's destined to be one of our most popular ever.

While it wasn't quite the worst of times for Sydney's Northern Beaches Hospital – there has been far, far worse publicity than this, we assure you – the ill-fated opening of the hospital last year has now caught Telstra Health's EMR in its spotlight.

Hopes high for GP2GP-style record exchange

Pulse+IT headed to HISA's Health Informatics Conference in Melbourne this week, as we are wont to do, and what a smashing event it turned out to be. The focus at HIC is often on the acute care sector and, naturally, health informatics, and there was certainly plenty of that, but we were very pleased with the depth of presentations from primary care and even aged care this year.

We were also delighted to see the former chair of the RACGP's eHealth expert committee, Nathan Pinskier, pick up HISA's prestigious Jon Hilton award. Dr Pinskier, who does a huge amount of voluntary work in the background lobbying for standards and quality in health IT, joins luminaries such as Grahame Grieve, Adam McLeod, Mike Georgeff and Terry Hannan in winning the award.

GPs get the pip with QI

It has been years in the making and has suffered several unexpected delays, but the Department of Health's bright and shiny new general practice quality improvement incentive (PIP QI) arrived this week, and was promptly met with a chorus of disapproval from GPs.

The PIP, which replaces a handful of others and requires general practices to send quarterly reports to their primary health network (PHN) on the proportion of patients with 10 different clinical indicators, is worth the not insubstantial sum of up to $50,000 a year to practices.

Consumer watchdog bares its teeth

We must admit that yesterday's announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it had launched legal action against health IT firm HealthEngine was a bit of a surprise, coming as it does over a year after the online booking service was thoroughly roasted in the media for its decision to edit or delete patient reviews of practices on its site.

The main surprise was with the consumer watchdog showing a bit of bite when we thought it was due a new set of dentures. However, the ACCC recently wrapped up an inquiry into digital platforms and is keen to see consent and notification requirements under the Privacy Act strengthened, and HealthEngine may just have found itself a case study.

Deflate expectations

There was interesting anecdote in one of the public submissions to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the operation and management of Sydney's Northern Beaches Hospital, a selection of which can be found here and which include a mixture of criticism of the hospital, praise for the hospital, a bit of 'insular peninsula' whinging, and the odd suspect wearing a tinfoil hat.

One patient, who had nothing but praise for the medical and nursing staff even while recounting how one of them had allegedly punctured her artery, mentioned in passing that she had expected, now that the My Health Record was available to her, that her medical record would therefore be available to her clinicians.

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