Refreshed national eHealth strategy delayed until COAG meets

The “refresh” of the 2008 national eHealth strategy will not be finalised until the federal government finishes its consultations on the review of the PCEHR, while the results of the Pathfinder project for the aged care industry are unlikely to see the light of day.

Deloitte was contracted to develop the 10-year national eHealth strategy in 2008 by the federal and state governments. It sets out a roadmap for four major streams of activity – foundations, eHealth solutions, change and adoption, and governance – and first raised the prospect of an individual electronic health record (IEHR), which eventually became the PCEHR.

Deloitte was again contracted to refresh the strategy last year at its half-way mark. It is understood that the consulting firm finished the refresh before the end of the year, by which time a new government had been elected.

The development of a national eHealth business case was also agreed to last year under a memorandum of understanding between the then-federal health minster, Tanya Plibersek, and the state and territory health ministers.

The jurisdictions committed to the business case to enable an agreed share of funding for eHealth beyond this month, when most budget allocations expired, including for the PCEHR. It was developed by the department's E-Health Working Group (EHWG), which reports directly to COAG's Standing Council on Health.

The government is still considering the recommendations of the Royle review into the PCEHR, handed to health minister Peter Dutton in December 2013 and publicly released just after the budget in May this year. The budget itself provided one further year of funding for the PCEHR and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).

A DoH spokeswoman said both the refresh and the business case will be considered along with the review.

“The government has recently released the review of the personally controlled electronic health record and will be consulting on its recommendations over the next few months,” she said.

“The outcomes of the consultations will inform the government’s response to the review.

“To ensure alignment, the national eHealth business case and refresh of the national eHealth strategy will be finalised by the COAG Health Council following government consideration of the recommendations of the review.”

Another strategy contracted by the department under the previous government and developed by the aged care sector as part of the Pathfinder project does not look like it will be released. Pathfinder involved the Aged Care Industry IT Council (ACIITC), three software vendors and Accenture, and was meant to provide a roadmap for aged care IT deployments.

“With reference to the Pathfinder project, this has been a useful report which has been used internally within the department to inform our ongoing eHealth agenda,” the spokeswoman said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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