Updated on 13 February 2013
This is essentially because hospital CIOs find it hard to justify significant budget allocations towards activities not directly impacting healthcare delivery, particularly when returns on investment are below expectations. Hospital spend on IT is expected to rise under the influence of government incentives to drive adoption.
However, the PCEHR has been received with strong apprehension and even criticism on some aspects across the country. Adoption of PCEHR has been dismal essentially due to the complexity of procedures and requirements for both physicians and consumers. So severe is the issue that the Australia Medical Association (AMA) has called for a step-by-step toolkit to help medical practitioners to participate in PCEHR. Even the PIP for eHealth, popularly termed ePIP, has been received with criticism and scanty adoption with only about half of all general practices in Australia applying for or assigned a Healthcare Provider Identifier - Organisation (HPI-O) number, a prerequisite for payment eligibility.
Mr Bhuller says, "Moreover, while digitization of health records has made it easier for people to manage their health information, most consumers are anxious about data security. Data privacy laws in Australia are expected to be amended in the next 15 months, but until then patients are concerned about how their medical information is being stored and shared. Legacy health IT systems in Australia have been largely uncoordinated. While the country has put tremendous effort in health IT from both a resource and investment perspective, it is difficult to say that these have been hugely successful due to the lack of integration across regional IT systems, as can be seen from the failure of the HealthSMART project."
By using some of these prior learnings to improve on implementation, government authorities are optimistic about the prospects of IT in healthcare. They are driving IT adoption by openly accepting and implementing feedback from the public and incentivizing eHealth practices. Private software vendors and system integrators expect significant returns from the market essentially because there are opportunities for implementing large-scale installations spanning several healthcare providers.
As cited in a recent Accenture report, EMR and EHR adoption was estimated at 78 percent across public and private healthcare providers from 2008-2013 and this is expected to grow. Bhuller finished by saying that as clinical systems advance, demand will flare for sophisticated intelligence and analytics tools to help healthcare providers manage and make sense out of the large volumes of data so that they may improve healthcare management and, in the long run, healthcare costs.