Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Scale Of The Miss On NEHRS / PCEHR Delivery Becomes Clearer Every Day. No Wonder We Got A ‘Soft Launch’ - It Wasn’t Ready.

The following appeared today.

NEHTA knew of PCEHR delays

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • July 11, 2012 12:00AM
ALMOST all the functionality of the new personally controlled e-health record system is delayed until at least August, the National E-Health Transition Authority's head of the PCEHR program admitted four days before the go-live.
"At the moment, we are in the final stages of the production build-out and final verification testing," Andrew Howard told a vendors' webinar on June 27.
"Everything is on track for a successful launch (of the consumer portal and online registration system) over the weekend."
But Mr Howard said plans for the release of the provider portal were not yet settled.
"We're planning for the August timeframe, and those working with us in the test environments and the lead sites are tracking to that," he said.
"Final contracts will be put in place with (the national infrastructure consortium leader) Accenture this week around the specific date for delivery."
Accenture was awarded a $47 million contract to operate the new PCEHR system on June 26 for the two years to June 2014.
Last week, The Australian reported that Accenture had only delivered 40 per cent of a fully workable infrastructure by the July 1 launch date, while a hacking incident that occurred during the system's build late last year was not discovered for four months.
Mr Howard also confirmed that it is still unclear when the National Authentication Service for Health - which provides user verification, security and audit services - will be available from NEHTA's contractor, IBM.
"IBM has not delivered their contractual commitments as of yesterday (June 26), so we are in negotiations with them around a firm date for delivery," he said.
"So the NASH is not there, but we do have an interim solution for software vendors that will be in place for the August release (of the provider portal).
"The Health department has contracted with Medicare Australia to issue a gatekeeper compliant digital certificate which encompasses the NASH requirements for healthcare provider identifiers and healthcare organisation identifiers."
The plan to build the NASH arose from concerns that existing Medicare PKI infrastructure, used for billing and claiming purposes, was not robust enough for a national system transacting confidential medical information.
"A number of vendors have already tested that solution with us in the software testing environment, and we've also written the same sets of code off our reference platform to test the Medicare solution," Mr Howard said.
"So, with respect to secure connectivity to the PCEHR, we're still on schedule for August delivery as well."
But the state and territory governments have requested a one-year deferral on compliance with Healthcare Identifier provider requirements on hospital discharge summaries, as their systems are not ready.
Read much more of the details here:
Talking to those involved I have been told that this is all true and that it is probable a good many delays and hiccups are still to come.
I wonder when the point will come and we see the Minister summon a few executives in for a little fireside chat to obtain an explanation of just why it is the whole Program is looking rather like a mismanaged shambles.
Interestingly the problems have made their way across the Pacific to the US.
Monday, July 09, 2012

Australia Faces Problems in Rollout of Personal Health Record System

The Australian government has encountered problems with the recent launch of its Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system, or PCEHR system, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The PCEHR initiative aims to let patients use an online tool to consolidate their records on medications, allergies, immunizations, doctors' notes and other health information.
Low Enrollment
The PCEHR project has faced low enrollment. Five days after the initiative launched on July 1, only 320 Australians had registered for the system.
The low enrollment numbers have led observers to express doubt that the program will meet its goal of registering 500,000 users in its first year.
Additional Problems
Users have reported several other problems with the PCEHR system, such as:
  • Consistently busy call center lines;
  • A lack of awareness among government staff that registration was open; and
  • An inability to register names with apostrophes (Molloy, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/9).
It really seems the arrangement of having DoHA outsource delivery of the Program to NEHTA has been a less than good idea. One wonders if the Program  might not have been delivered more successfully if the whole Program (as a whole) had been passed to a private sector ‘managing agent’ with the sort of control and responsibilities needed to have something like this be delivered. Certainly it would have been good to see better governance, leadership and accountability than has now seemed to be the case.
I guess we will never know.