Monday, September 3, 2012

Somehow Things Just Seem To Be Getting Worse And Worse The More We Know. I Wonder Who Is Telling The Truth Here?

The following appeared today in the Australian.

Document proves defects in e-health

THE national e-health system was riddled with critical or high-severity defects just days before its launch, casting doubts on the Gillard government's claims that it was pushed live without faults.
The Australian can reveal that the personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) system, which was taken offline for more than 24 hours for maintenance at the weekend, was affected by 68 critical and high-severity bugs.
Although the government has stood by its insistence that the system was fault-free when it was launched on July 1, the decision to go live was made despite warnings from its own e-health agency, the National E-Health Transition Authority.
The Australian revealed on July 24 that the government knowingly launched the PCEHR with more than 60 high-severity and critical bugs. As previously reported, two weeks before the launch NEHTA told key government stakeholders that the system had more than 200 high-severity and critical bugs. That was reduced to 68 after a "reprioritisation" of defects, sources close to Health said.
This same approach was applied a week before go-live.
The findings were denied by a spokesman for Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and by her department.
As reported, the spokesman for Ms Plibersek said that, based on advice by the Health Department, the minister rejected claims that the system had problems before launch.
"No critical defects remained at the time of the release," the spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for the department concurred. As recent as last week, she said: "The national infrastructure (for the PCEHR) as implemented is complete and live and has signed off for clinical safety, and was implemented with no critical or high-severity system errors or defects. There are no outstanding critical or high-severity defects from any previous releases."
The Australian can now reveal that internal NEHTA documents refute claims made by the government. The PCEHR test document prepared on June 23 -- days before the system went live on July 1 -- details risk descriptions and mitigation strategies for the system.
The document outlined six items, but the most important entry and marked as "high" under residual risk severity was labelled PCEHR 663. It said: "With a total of 68 open severity 1 & 2 defects that are Category 1 functionality, and with one week remaining till 1 July Go-Live, it is highly likely that the system will go live with high volume of defects that includes Severity 2 defects."
NEHTA's suggestion for a mitigation strategy was to "postpone the 1 July go-live delivery date".
The Health spokeswoman yesterday said: "The risk report and other reports that The Australian continues to refer to are for a period prior to the final go-live decision. As we've said before, the system released was safe and secure, as confirmed by the IT and cyber-security experts at the Defence, Finance and Attorney-General's departments. No critical defects remained at the time of release. Any suggestion otherwise is completely wrong." Asked if the minister was sure the PCEHR system went live with no critical or high-severity errors, she said: "This has been answered before. The minister was advised by the department that there were no critical defects."
Extracts from e-health test results on June 23

First 5 issues omitted - available at link.
Risk description: With a total of 68 open severity 1 & 2 defects that are Category 1 functionality, and with one week remaining till July 1 go-live, it is highly likely that the system will go live with a high volume of defects that includes Severity 2 defects
Likelihood: Highly likely
Impact: Major
Severity: Critical
Mitigation strategy: Postpone the July 1 go-live delivery date
Residual risk severity: High
The full article with all the gruesome details is here:
To me what emerges here are two key themes:
First from the paragraph in italics it is totally clear the DoHA is incapable of ‘lying straight in bed’ and the way they spin and are ‘economical with the truth’ is really astonishing. Saying they told the Minister all was fine when their ‘managing agent’ was saying we need more time is a serious governance breakdown.
Second what it revealed is that not only is DoHA ‘calling the shots’ but that they clearly do not know what they do not know. That NEHTA should be just ignored like this suggests the relationship between NEHTA and DoHA must be rather ‘pistols at 20 paces’ like.
These two themes make it utterly clear the long term success of this Program is simply doomed. The pin needs to be pulled and sooner rather than later!