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PM backs off e-health

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Health information technology experts are calling on Prime Minister John Howard to take control of the faltering national e-health reform agenda.

 

Frustration is rising over changes to plans for the centrepiece HealthConnect network, and a perception the federal Government in Australia, is trying to duckshove responsibility for health technology to the states.

 

Independent consultant David More said the vision of HealthConnect as a “health market change management strategy”, rather than a blueprint for a lifelong shared e-health record, was disturbing.

 

Dr More said the “changed vision” seemed to be the final step in disposing of any focussed federal initiative aimed at transforming healthcare delivery.

 

“It appears there is to be a clear-cut passing of the baton to the state jurisdictions, and to their own standards-setting entity, the now corporatised National E-Health Transition Authority,” he said.

 

Sadly, many state health technology projects were behind schedule or faced problems.

 

“If it is left to the states, we will have a continuing multiple-railway-gauge problem,” he said.

 

“Without national leadership, Australia runs the serious risk of having an even more failing and unco-ordinated health system.

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