The Future Pathways for e-Health in NSW

Prof. Patrick has now added a new section to his report on health IT in NSW Australia, entitled "The Future Pathways for e-Health in NSW." It is available at this link (PDF).

It inoculates against most of the 'Ten Plagues' that bedevil health IT projects (such as the IT-clinical leadership inversion, lack of transparency, suppression of defects reporting, magical thinking about the technology, and lack of accountability of the bureaucrats).

Emphases mine:

In Short Term ( 0-3 months)

1. Halt further rollouts of Firstnet or other CIS systems. The current roll-out programs use significant efforts in training staff for a system that is counterproductive to patient well being.
2. Complete a full and thorough risk assessment analysis and usability of the software. The CIS report indicates there are a number of risks in the current software that are not likely to have been assessed in the past.
3. Address the current problems before doing anything else. There are a number of problems that appear solvable in the short term that would improve the situation for current users, such as providing needed reports.
4. Create the NSW IT Improvement Panel composed of ED Directors, IT-savvy clinical and quality improvement staff responsible for advising on the preparedness and process of the rollout.
5. Create an effective error and bug reporting mechanism that is viewable by all ED directors and with the display of the priority of each entry and expected completion time.
6. Initiate a high profile campaign to encourage staff to lodge fault records on anything they discover wrong, problematic or inefficient in using the system.

In the longer term (3-12 months)

1. Review the Health Support Services and make it clinically accountable by appointing a clinical head with an IT education.
2. Create a culture change in the HSS. The current operation of the HSS seems to be devoid of influence from the clinical community.
3. All NSW CIS system procurement should be guided by an IT Advisory Board of IT experienced clinical, academic and medical software industry experts.
4. Create pathways for hospitals that wish to be early adopters and take a lead role in the development of new methods for using and deploying IT systems.
5. Support innovation within the Australian medical software communities that contribute to a culture of innovation and continuous quality improvement.
6. Adopt transparency rules in all new healthcare information acquisitions. Secrecy has bedevilled the efforts of staff and management to get improvements in the CIS systems and hold service agents accountable for their failure to comply to service level agreements. All agreements about a signed contract should be available to the ED Directors.
7. Replace the State Based Build policy with a policy of providing a technology to match the technology experience of the individual departments so that leaders are not dragged backwards with inappropriate technology installation

The de facto "National Program for IT in the HHS" here in the United States needs a similar inoculation.

I can only add that our own ONC office (Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT of the Dept. of HHS) had more granular recommendations about expertise levels required for leadership roles in such undertakings. I wrote about them at my Dec. 2009 post "ONC Defines a Taxonomy of Robust Healthcare IT Leadership."