Independent tech evaluation: pipe dream or worthwhile aim?

This story first appeared in the November2013 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Late last year, the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) put together a program evaluation subcommittee (PES), which the college hopes will in time become the peak national group for providing advice on the merit of eHealth implementations. One prime example is the relative success or failure of the PCEHR.

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. 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.

The Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) – the peak professional group for health informaticians in Australia and New Zealand – has been active in trying to shape these initiatives for the better. In order to extend the reach of the college and to have the broader health and general communities benefit from its advice and expertise, the college has established the program evaluation subcommittee (PES) of the college council.

Amongst the ACHI membership are many active and experienced clinicians, appropriately qualified and experienced ICT, IS and IM practitioners, academics and educators in the field of health informatics and its affiliated areas. All have met stringent standards to become fellows and members. The PES draws on this breadth of skill and experience for its membership, and has provided a vehicle to also draw on the input of healthcare consumers to relevant issues.

We anticipate that this group should in time become the peak national group for providing advice to healthcare decision makers (individuals or groups), the public at large, government and the media regarding the relative merit of various proposed or actually implemented systems. This is a non-trivial challenge for the group and the college but one that we welcome as part of our responsibilities to the Australian and New Zealand communities.

Established in late 2012, the aim of the PES is to ultimately be seen as the authoritative and truly independent source of advice for health industry stakeholders, government and the media regarding the relative success or failure of eHealth initiatives in Australasia. One of the drivers of the creation of the group has been the concern expressed in this publication and other places around the success or otherwise of the PCEHR initiative for example.

To read the full story, click here for the November 2013 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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