Thursday, February 7, 2013

Karen Dearne - Health reveals 16 records uploaded to PCEHR.

In preparation for Senate Estimates Hearings next week we have some information releases from DoHA which came out yesterday.
Karen Dearne Reports:
Only 16 Shared Health Summaries had been uploaded to the Personally Controlled E-Health Record System by November 12, according to the federal Health Department.

"These summaries were uploaded from pilot sites ahead of the planned rollout of clinical software to connect providers to the PCEHR system," the department says, in belated answers to questions on notice from the Senate Estimates hearings last October.

"As at November 22, there were 48,335 documents downloaded from the PCEHR, with consumers accessing the system an average 306 times a day."

By the same date, 275 provider organisations had completed registration, while five software vendors had completed Medicare's "Notice of Connection and Conformance, Compliance and Accreditation for a range of PCEHR transactions through the (Human Services Department) B2B interface".

Health did not provide any information on the number of "distinct clinical discharge summaries uploaded", as requested by Queensland Senator Sue Boyce.

Given the department missed the December 7 deadline for responses and the Community Affairs committee meets for the next Estimates round next Wednesday, it is puzzling that more recent figures are not available.

In October, a Health official said 13,340 people had registered for a PCEHR, while the department had forecast 500,000 registrations in the first full year of operation.

Meanwhile, Health has confirmed there have been "a series of outages" in the e-health environment, including the Healthcare Identifiers service, vendor PCEHR test environment and the Pharmacy Benefits Schedule, saying these were planned outages "to allow for system maintenance and upgrade".

"The PCEHR system availability target is similar to targets set for other Australian government and hospital systems, and also the Singapore e-health record system (on which the PCEHR is based)," it says.

Human Services separately reported 137 ICT Reliability outages in the period October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012, primarily in internal systems used by Centrelink and Medicare. Twenty-eight were experienced in the outsourced Vendor Managed Environment.

On occasions these unscheduled outages affected customer access to services like Centrelink Online, Medicare Online, PBS Online, the Health Professionals Online System and the PCEHR.

"As systems stability is a key priority, improvement programs undertaken over the past 12 months have realised a 27 per cent reduction in reliability outages during (the most recent quarter) July-September compared to the April-June quarter," Human Services says.

"Four major pieces of work are currently underway to improve the reliability and availability of ICT systems."

These involve the transition of seven old data centres into two modern facilities over the next few years; upgrade of the customer portal to a 64-bit environment to increase the capacity of concurrent session handling, and configuration of agentless monitoring devices for data packet monitoring to provide greater transparency and more comprehensive reporting of ICT transactions.

ICT services previously outsourced to IBM and HP are also being transitioned to in-house management, "removing dependency on external factors, thus enabling proactive service management and increasing reliability as a result", it says.
A pretty sad story.