Getting value from the health software industry

AUTHOR: Emma Hossack, President, MSIA

Over the past few months the MSIA has lodged submissions on Productivity, ICT Procurement and the new Digital Health Strategy . The consistent themes in our suggestions include cut red tape, “get out of the kitchen” and let industry get on with it, create an open playing field and engage early with industry in co-production if you want success in digital health.

On a visit with our Canberra stakeholders last week I was struck by just how many government requirements industry must contend with. And how different things could be if the above messages were turned into reality. Here are some thoughts on just a couple of our current challenges.

We all know that when the Government takes the “build it and they will come” approach, it fails. MyHR and the recent Online Prescription Authorities are 2 recent examples.

Two examples of current areas where our suggested approach is not being adopted despite good open relationships with the Government are:

  1. The integration of third party systems with the new DHS infrastructure, and
  2. The new cloud computing directive for online claiming systems

The first is pretty self -explanatory. The Government has put out an RFI for a $600m upgrade to Medicare infrastructure. Without doubt it sounds like it’s needed. Unfortunately, it’s less clear whether budget has been set aside for consultation with industry over how integration could be achieved and a budget to pay for it. You may recall a similar situation with the PCEHR, where the winner of the tender advised an MSIA meeting that consultation with industry about integration was not in scope. Hard to imagine how they envisaged population of the record would occur. Even harder to believe it wasn’t considered. We don’t have the luxury of failing too often.

The point of this is that we don’t want to see a repeat. We have written to the Minister for DHS to advise that we are keen to be in the tent to help make this project a success.

The second issue which many of you have sent great responses on is the new cloud computing directive for online claiming systems. The directive, which can be found here, mandates immediate changes to how you manage your cloud services and fails to provide details or consider the flow on impacts – think live cattle debacle.

Again – we have written to the Minister including many of the points you raised. We will raise the issues for the Agenda at Stakeholder Consultative Groups.

What else can we do?

Well, we have asked for experts in this area to come to the 4 May Stakeholder function and explain it. The MSIA Board has also decided that it will put to the AGM this Year a submission to the Department of Finance to ensure that future projects contemplate the downstream effect on industry and allow for it in the budget as the loss of digital efficiencies is bad for innovation, productivity and efficiency. And bad for all of us all as taxpayers.

Other ideas on how we can change the pattern?

Looking forward to discussion and let us know if you would like to start a member’s poll on anything in particular.


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