E-health funding ‘boost’ unwrapped

David More offers informed comment on last week’s e-health budget announcement in his Australian Health IT blog. While the media headlines trumpeted a big win for e-health spending (ie, funding for the National E-Health Transition Authority) out of the money allocated at the Council of Australian Governments meeting, David points out that the growth in funding is largely due to the states matching federal funding.

Importantly, he points out that “What this funding of NEHTA for the next few years has done has ensured that its leaders feel vindicated in the way they have behaved – they have essentially been ‘patted on the head’ – and any real stimulus for ‘root and branch’ change has been lost.

“There is also a bit of a problem in that without a co-ordinated national direction it is a little murky as to who will be able to get the full value out of the planned NEHTA spend.

“More importantly what has been lost is the opportunity to put in place the sort of national strategy and national governance of e-Health. This will lead, almost inevitably, to waste and inefficiency in how the new money is spent. Of course that waste and inefficiency will be dwarfed by what will flow from failing to properly automate the health sector.”

He concludes that “What has also been lost is an opportunity to commence planned co-ordinated investment in Health IT in a way that is designed to maximise benefit to all the actors within the health system.”

Read the entire post here.