The Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) has stressed the need for a comprehensive plan for use of information technology in health sector.
THE Rudd Government should bypass the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) that has failed to carry out its brief, the Society said in a pre-Budget submission.
In the past two years, NEHTA
has suffered from a lack of direction and has been criticised for its inability to engage with doctors and health IT providers, and its failure to deliver on work plans, the Society pointed out.
"There is no doubt that the standards and infrastructure elements which NEHTA has been charged with delivering are important, but it's more important to ensure those elements will fit the requirements of patients, providers and the Government, and that they can be delivered by industry," it said.
Despite recognition in most other advanced countries of the need for investment in and the use of IT in the health sector, Australia sits without a plan for how it will deliver its e-health future," HISA
"There is not even a clearly articulated and shared vision of what we expect our investments in e-health to deliver," it said and wanted the job of planning for the future to be entrusted to some select stakeholders.
The new group should be independent of NEHTA and the Australian Health Information Council, and focus on the "enormously complex task" of building a fully interoperable health system across state borders, which supports both private and public sectors, and is accessible by a diverse range of medical providers.
HISA also calls for a substantial increase in funding for post-graduate studies in health informatics, and an accreditation program, to help address the critical skills shortage.
"We need trained health informaticians, as the skills are not easily transferable from other IT specialities," it said.
"The required level of privacy, security and accuracy of health data reflect an information environment of unequalled complexity, where errors can readily endanger lives."