Secrecy Gone Feral! – Why Can’t the Public Access the Information and Advice they have Paid For?

I must be from a very old school, or totally naive, but I really believe that when reports are commissioned by Governments on matters that don’t affect national security and such like matters the openness and transparency is a good thing and that Government secrecy is a really bad thing.

In the present context it is good to see the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission actually releasing discussion papers and submissions. It is also amazing that some submissions should be confidential – surely anonymous as the author is good enough – but not so for reasons I can’t even begin to guess at.

As a result of the release of the most recent paper on e-Health the issue has again raised its ugly head.

This paper is found here:

E-Health - Enabler for Australia's Health Reform, Booz & Company, November 2008.pdf (PDF 1082 KB)

As I browsed I noticed the following reports – which to the best of my knowledge are not in the public domain.

1. Allen Consulting Group, “Economic impacts of a national Individual Electronic Health Records system”, July 2008.

2. NEHTA, “A National IEHR Service Business Case”, COAG 2008

3. KPMG, “Cost Benefit Analysis of Shared Electronic Health records”, NEHTA, September 2007

These need to be added to the following:

The matters discussed here:

and here:

There are, of course, a legion of consulting reports and modelling developed for NEHTA which have never seen the light of day and probably never will – and I know because I wrote parts of some of them!

We are also yet to see the detailed of the evaluation of the Eastern Goldfields Reference Project which was submitted in June, 2006 to DoHA. Of course none of the earlier HealthConnect evaluations ever saw the full light of day as well – so no lessons have been learned except by the bureaucrats who received these reports and who for the most part have now moved on. It really is just hopeless.

Of course state Governments are as bad. Anyone seen this one?

NSW Department of Health, Healthelink EHR Evaluation (KPMG), May 2008.

Of course not.

Until this all changes – with the best will in the world – we will continue to stumble around repeating mistakes and making a general mess of things!

Access to the information in these reports is vital both to ensure investment proposals receive the appropriate amount of scrutiny at both a business and technical level and that mistakes made and ideas not included in analysis can be given due consideration.

DoHA and the new NEHTA CEO could make a difference by responding to these suggestions.

I really hope this may change – but I am not holding my breath!



Post a Comment