Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Well Now We Know. E-Health Has been Cut To Ribbons! Just As Expected. This Will Really Take a Decade If It Ever Happens.

Here is what the Budget has on e-Health.

National e‑Health Program — continuation

Expense ($m)
Department of Health and Ageing    ( 2011‑12) 33.4   (2012‑13 )  58.7 (2013‑14) 90.3  
Department of Human Services -  ( 2012‑13)  15.2  (2013‑14)   28.2
Department of Veterans' Affairs -  (2012‑13)  1.5   (2013‑14)   1.1  
Total - Expense (2011-12) 33.4  (2012‑13)  75.5  (2013‑14)  119.6
So the overall spending is.
2011-12 $33.4M
2012-13 $75.5M
2013-14 $119.6M
The Government will provide $233.7 million over three years to implement the National e‑Health Program.
This funding will ensure that from 1 July 2012, Australians will have the option of registering for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) to support more informed clinical assessments and decision‑making, improve continuity of care and introduce efficiencies in health care service delivery. Patients who choose to participate will be able to securely access, and permit their health care providers to access, their health information.
This measure builds on the Government's previous e‑Health investments and includes funding to enable:
  • the National E‑Health Transition Authority to further develop national standards and operate national infrastructure services;
  • the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to provide regulatory oversight of the national e‑Health services; and
  • the Department of Human Services and the Department of Veterans' Affairs to provide support services to PCEHR participants.
To fully realise the significant benefits of this Commonwealth investment, State and Territory governments will need to continue to invest in core health information systems.
----- End Extract
It is pretty clear what this means and merely confirms what we have all know. The new Federal Minister has decided to take things a lot more slowly in an attempt to actually deliver over a much longer time.
I think this is very sensible - but it needs to come with a re-worked e-Health Strategy and much improved leadership and governance.
Will be fascinating to see how these funds are actually spent.
As you see what is happening each year is that the Department is getting more for operations and development costs are really dramatically cut back.
The first 2 years of the program was $467.00M and now we see investment of a great deal less. We now see 1/2 that amount over 3 years with a dramatic slowdown next financial year.
Essentially we are seeing a dramatic slowdown and sadly only a 2 year commitment of any funding. Pity about the out years
----- Rant On.
I have to say I am gobsmacked that we are also apparently having a $3.6 Billion package of handouts to those on under $80,000 per annum which is entitled “Benefits of the Boom”.  I thought we were trying to build a reasonable surplus - not buy votes from “Working Australians” Just why is it that the rest of the population is not to see these benefits in equal measure?
This really is wealth re-distribution on a scale we have not seen for quite a while. As Charlie Aitken remarked on Twitter - buy gambling and wagering stocks! Just rubbish policy in my view.
We have an economy that is firing on just one cylinder (mining) and we need to be investing and growing other sectors before the boom just passes - as all booms inevitably do. Not just spending the money for political advantage.
----- Rant Off.
Anyway the e-Health approach seems sensible and reasonable to allow a very major slowdown and to work out how to actually make it work. Now if we could sort out the leadership and governance of the program.....