NEHTA confident it's a going concern

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has set aside cash reserves to cover its liabilities in case it fails to receive funding beyond June 30, 2015.

In its 2013-2014 annual report, the organisation alludes to uncertainty over its future beyond the next financial year but says it expects that further funding will be provided to continue its work program.

The Royle review into the PCEHR recommended that NEHTA be dissolved and its functions merged into a new Australian Commission for Electronic Health (AceH). It has since been provided with one year's worth of funding from the federal, state and territory governments.

In the report, NEHTA said that from 2014-2015 onwards, its strategic plan will need to be aligned with the refreshed national eHealth strategy – which Pulse+IT understands was completed by Deloitte late in 2013 but has not yet been released by the federal government – as well as the government's response to the Royle review recommendations. That has also not been released.

NEHTA has recorded a far lower operating deficit than last year - $12.6 million as opposed to $73.76m the previous year. It received funding of close to $80 million for the year, and has seen a reduction in employee wages and money spent on consultants from the previous year.

It has also dipped into its cash reserves to fund activity for this financial year.

NEHTA states that while it has funding arrangements with the federal, state and territory governments until 30 June 2015, “it is expected that further funding will be provided to continue the NEHTA work [program] beyond the 12 months from the date of this report and as such the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis”.

It says that should the funding not continue, it has set aside cash reserves that would be sufficient to extinguish any liabilities that exist at the time.

It has developed both short and long-term objectives in light of the uncertainty, with the short-term objectives to focus on adoption, implementation and meaningful use of eHealth initiatives.

“NEHTA will build on the early implementation work with consumers, GPs and hospitals and collaborate further with pharmacy, aged care, pathology and diagnostic imaging,” it says.

“Working with all jurisdictions on how eHealth infrastructure can be further deployed will also be a focus.”

The long-term objectives are to continue to work on the implementation of medications management and chronic disease management programs, which it says will help drive uptake of the PCEHR towards a ‘tipping point’ of use.

“The more people and providers who use the national eHealth record system, the more valuable it will be to other providers, consumers and other system participants,” it says.

“To this end, 2014-15 will see NEHTA continuing to drive uptake and meaningful use of eHealth across the Australian healthcare sector.

“Areas of focus will be to connect pathology and diagnostic imaging to the [PCEHR], undertake early implementation of medications management and chronic disease management programs, and continue to work closely with states and territories to align the implementation of national infrastructure with jurisdictional health IT strategies and investments.”

In his foreword, NEHTA chairman Steve Hambleton says that the feedback he is getting from the government is positive and “shares my view that eHealth has a strong future”.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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