Australia’s First Attempt at digitizing Health Records off to a Poor Start

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 18th, 2012

Week in Review

For a glimpse into the world of Obamacare consider the digitizing of health records in Australia (see Cool response to online health record scheme by Fran Molloy posted 8/14/2012 on The Sydney Morning Herald).

Despite more than 15,000 patients having consented to a shared e-health record in one Brisbane test area alone, only 5000 people have registered with the federal government’s eHealth scheme nationally…

The Queensland initiative was one of three national wave sites trialling the new health record system since February 2011.

Australians attempting to register online have met with a cumbersome process, which requires several clicks and a redirection to the Australia.gov.au website before the registration process can begin…

Sydney IT worker Garry Stevens last week detailed his experience in a letter to the Health Minister, in which he called the registration site a masterpiece of incompetence with interface issues including browser incompatibility, punctuation problems and irritating time-outs.

How many times did the Obama administration say that digital medical records would solve most of the problems in the health care industry?  I don’t have the exact number but it was somewhere around a lot.  And it’s a big part of Obamacare.  There is only one problem.  The organization trying to bring the health care industry into the modern era is the same organization that has left it in the old era.  Somehow trusting the people who have done such a poor job of maintaining records to modernize these same records doesn’t fill one with a whole lot of confidence.  Which is why a lot of Australians are not signing up for this program.

And then there’s the matter of security.  I mean, how many people are going to trust these people with putting their most private and sensitive information on line when they can’t get the little things right?  Like punctuation?  Or browser compatibility?  You just know that there is some kid out there that will be able to easily hack their system.  Or some political operative trying to dig up some dirt on a political opponent.  Worse, they’ll probably not even know if they were hacked.  Well, a politician will know when his or her sexually transmitted disease becomes public.  Should they have one.

And what do we gain from this?  Not much.  Other than a more impersonalized health care system.  Where doctors will spend less time with their patients.  As they use their computer systems to process more patients per hour.  To improve efficiency.  And cut costs.  Because time is money.  And talking to patients just wastes time.

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