Saturday, March 31, 2012

Health IT Vendors Need To Now Take Steps To Rebalance The Way E-Health Programs Are Being Delivered. Program Costs and Benefits Need To Be Better Spread Between Stakeholders.

This blog aims to make a really simple point. The point is that the influence of the Medical Software Industry (in all its forms) has somehow been sidelined over the last few years and the balance between the software providers, their customers and the Government agencies has got out of whack! The governance and leadership has been just awful and really needs to change. Additionally the costs and benefits of the program need to be better spread.
In the last week we have seen the clinical lobby manage to take some small steps to re-assert their centrality to the National E-Health Record System Project (NEHRS) (formerly the PCEHR) and its overall success.
This outcome was reported here:
and there was further commented upon here:
This has led to a situation where the clinicians have been essentially offered an uncapped level of funding to support the introduction of the NEHRS. Of course the mechanics and impact of this announcement won’t become clear until more details are provided, but it is clear the user lobby has had an impact.
A year or two ago we also saw the rather bizarre e-Health  PIP announcements where clinicians were paid (reasonably generously) to purchase and use software that the providers had agreed would be made compliant with some future to be determined at some time in the future.
This really now has the feeling of having been ‘money for jam’

Eligible Suppliers

To be considered an eligible supplier, software suppliers agree to participate in consultation processes with NEHTA to develop and implement secure messaging standards and specifications. The actual development of these standards and specifications by NEHTA, in consultation with the medical software industry, does not impact on a practice’s eligibility for payments through the eHealth Incentive.
The Department of Health and Ageing has advised NEHTA that practices should not be concerned if their supplier does not appear on the current listing but should recheck the website periodically. Practices are also reminded that they have until 31 July 2009 to comply with the secure messaging requirement and this timeline was developed with the particular needs of vendors in mind.
For further enquiries please contact NEHTA at 1300 901 001 or email your enquiries to
As far as I know most GPs are using providers such as Argus, Medical Objects and HealthLink for their secure messaging and to date implementation of NEHTA specifications has been hampered by the lack of an End Point Location Service, a provider directory and NASH.
You can read here to see just where implementation of the NEHTA specifications is here:
So, the docs have been pretty well funded. What about the Software Industry as they respond to the deluge of NEHTA and Tiger Team specs and documentation and all the associated demands and pressure - created by nonsense ‘political’ deadlines. While I am sure some funds from the Wave 1 and 2 projects has helped what is needed is a much more robust and thought-out approach to assisting Industry to respond to Government expectations.
The Government claims it will save money and consumers will be better off - but nowhere does it say we will share the gains - at least in part - with the industry. Until this happens, with other lobby groups having their needs addressed, there should be a sensible quid pro quo.
According to the survey presently running on the blog there is a strong view the industry is being harmed by the ‘elephants in the room’ of NEHTA and DoHA.  All this needs to change and I cannot see a better time than the present to start making the point clearly and strongly to those who seem so fond of just assuming the world is all take and no give as far as dealing with Health Software Providers is concerned.