NEHTA to focus on meds management and pathology reporting

NEHTA has set out its short-term strategy for the current financial year in an annual report released today, promising to focus on improving national eHealth infrastructure and responding to lessons learned from early use of the systems.

It will also focus on ensuring that reliable medications information is available and that there is better standardisation of pathology reporting, it said.

NEHTA's financial report shows an operating deficit of $73.76m for 2012-2013, down from a surplus of $91.02m the previous year.

The report states that this year's member contributions from the federal government were received in 2011-2012 and were accounted for then. This combined with a decision to dip into cash reserves to fund activity throughout this financial year contributed to the deficit.

It had revenues of $52.75m – made up of contributions from the states and territories – which is down from the large number from the previous year of $237.35m. Those revenues in large part came from federal and state government funding to manage the build of the PCEHR.

The annual report shows an increase in fees paid to consultants, from $58.7m in 2011-12 to $73m, and a decrease in employee benefits and contractors, from $63m to $45.5m.

The figures show that $51.7m was spent in 2012 on the implementation of the PCEHR through vendors and wave sites costs, with a $22m allowance for expenditure not yet incurred on COAG vendor and wave site implementations for this year.

There is also an allowance of $4.3m for expenditure not yet incurred on the rapid integration project, which aims to get half of all public hospitals in the country viewing the PCEHR and uploading discharge summaries by the end of the year.

NEHTA has cash and cash equivalents of $74.6m.

In the annual report, NEHTA outlined its short-term objectives for the year ahead, saying its program of work will focus on adoption and implementation of national infrastructure and the national eHealth strategy.

A strong emphasis will be placed on electronic medications management and the standardisation of pathology reporting, it said.

Beyond 2014, its strategic plan will need to be aligned with the revised national eHealth strategy, which Deloitte is currently preparing for review.

NEHTA's funding ceases in July 2014 and will need to be renegotiated with the states and territories, as well as the federal government, which currently contributes 50 per cent of its revenue. NEHTA's various office leases expire between June and November 2014.

NEHTA said its focus for 2013-2014 will be on:

  • Infrastructure improvement: achieve improvements in national eHealth infrastructure by responding to lessons learned from early use and new priorities, so that the national eHealth infrastructure is useful, safe, usable, trusted and well integrated.
  • Priority solutions: coordinate the progress of priority eHealth solutions and processes, including electronic medication management, ePathology and continuity of care.
  • Adoption, change and meaningful use: work towards creating a critical mass of eHealth users who are connected and meaningfully embedding NEHTA foundations, solutions and the eHealth records system into healthcare.
  • Support and assurance: provide ongoing support for delivery and assure the clinical safety, usability, benefits, security and privacy of national eHealth infrastructure and solutions.

It said its long-term objectives were “to continue to engage with software vendors and implementers to ensure comprehensive adoption of the products and solutions”.

“With the PCEHR system now in operational mode, our work [program] has reached an important milestone at a time when we have committed ourselves to succeeding in driving adoption and meaningful use of eHealth across the sector,” the annual report states.

The report makes mention of the press release issued by US company MMRGlobal in February alleging NEHTA appeared to have infringed on MMRGlobal's patents.

“As a result of the assertions made in the press release, NEHTA undertook a thorough investigation of MMR’s Australian patents, which investigation revealed that there has been and is no infringement of MMR’s Australian patents by NEHTA,” the report states.

“That has been communicated to MMR’s lawyers both in the United States and Australia by NEHTA’s solicitors. At this time, the directors do not expect there to be any significant impact on the Group’s stated financial position as set out in the financial statements read with the associated explanatory notes, as a result of MMR’s assertions.”

It also mentions the termination of the contract between NEHTA and IBM for the NASH project. “The parties engaged in confidential and without prejudice discussions regarding that matter and the matter was resolved in December 2012,” the report states.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Comments   

# Brett McPherson 2013-11-06 11:35
Perhaps NEHTA needs to sit around the table with Telstra. If Telstra is investing so heavily, obviously they believe commercial gain in the eHealth market; we just need to remember the eHealth market is far more than just a PCEHR.
# Michael 2013-11-06 18:51
I would not be happy with Telstra being involved in PCEHR, given the sensitive nature of the information. Neither do I want the unedifying experience of having to phone Bangalore or Bombay if I have an access problem.No, better to have them bring their mobile and customer service up to the gold standard>

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