I read with great interest the words of National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) chief executive Peter Flemming quoted in Australian IT on 13 October which indicated that the original vision of a single e-health record system had been abandoned in favour of "person-controlled" records that could be adopted more quickly.
The article quotes Flemming, "Five years ago, there was a strong view that there would be an e-health record for all Australians held on a massive database somewhere," he told the Medical Software Industry Association conference in Sydney last week. "That's no longer the view".
"When and if the e-health record is approved, we'll enter into detailed planning around the architecture, but undoubtedly people will have an option to choose health records from a range of sources and their medical information will be stored in a number of locations."
This resonated loudly with the conclusions that The Health Information Exchange sub-committee of the Australian National Consultative Committee on e-Health had reached in its work on e-health information exchange.
It became clear from our deliberations, which took into account best practice and thinking world wide, that a person-controlled record was not only the most speedy and cost effective solution, but that it was also the most likely to achieve consumer acceptance.
Information Integrity Solutions (IIS - the company of which I am a principal) developed this thinking into a policy paper titled "Cutting Through: Using Health Information Technology for effective chronic care delivery", which has quietly been circulating through the back blocks for some time.
Could it be that Australia is finally on a path that will lead us forward on the e-health agenda after all the false starts we have encountered over the last decade?