ACHI committee aims to be leading voice on eHealth
The Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) has set up a subcommittee that aims to become an authoritative source of independent advice on the relative success or failure of eHealth implementations, including high-profile initiatives such as the PCEHR.
Established late last year, ACHI's program evaluation subcommittee (PES) is positioning itself as the peak national group for providing advice to healthcare decision makers, the public at large, government and the media regarding the relative merit of various proposed or actually implemented systems.
The PES is chaired by Chris Bain, inaugural director of health informatics at Alfred Health and adjunct senior research fellow in the Faculty of IT at Monash University. Chris Pearce, director of research at Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local and adjunct associate professor of general practice at Monash University, is a member of the committee.
Writing in the November issue of Pulse+IT magazine, Dr Bain and Associate Professor Pearce say that the last three years have been a particularly active and interesting time in Australian healthcare, especially when viewed through the eyes of the health informatics community.
“National healthcare reforms have significantly increased eHealth activities in Australia in a raft of ways – some would say for the better, and some for the worse,” they write.
“The personally controlled eHealth record (PCEHR) is the most prominent example, but there are numerous large and small eHealth activities across the country; usually centred around jurisdictions, hospital networks and Medicare Locals.
“One of the drivers of the creation of the group has been the ongoing concern expressed in [Pulse+IT] and other places around the success or otherwise of the PCEHR initiative for example.”
In addition to outlining some of the criteria for a successful implementation, Dr Bain and A/Prof Pearce describe some of the drivers that may be considered in establishing the relative success or failure of an implemented system.
They highlight the concept of usability as one that is poorly understood by many who refer to it.
“Usability is not simply how 'easy to use' a system is,” they write. “It can be broken down into its constituent components, and these in turn can be measured. These components include the flexibility of the system, its speed, its ease of navigation, its ease of learning and its 'attitude'.
“These evaluations are not for the faint-hearted nor for those not appropriately qualified. In particular, there is an enormous amount of contextual knowledge to be factored in order for such evaluations to be undertaken in an informed fashion.
“ACHI (through the PES) as the peak academic body for health informatics brings with it all the skills necessary to deliver independent, comprehensive analysis of any eHealth implementation.
“We welcome contact from relevant organisations or individuals within the broader health and eHealth/informatics communities in relation to the activities of the PES.”
Posted in Australian eHealth