Edwin Kruys has posted a typically thoughtful and reasoned post suggesting the the Australian Government’s e-health record ‘My Health Record’ may be saveable.



I can’t share his optimism and here’s why I think that this is $1.5billion and counting that will go the way of the NHS’s spectacular, health failure of several years ago.

Hi Edwin, Thoughtful as ever. Wish I could agree but I’m struggling. I can’t see this being any more than as useful as a chocolate teapot. I’ve been “signed up” as a user of My Health Record for a few years now and even signing up was a nightmare. And I LIKE technology and I’m persistent. Heaven knows how long it would have taken John & Mary public to quit and go have a cuppa. After finally ‘getting in’ what did I find? Absolutely NOTHING. A giant black hole. A blank excel spreadsheet would look more inviting. Whyany patient, nurse or doctor would ever feel a need to ‘consult’ this, I have no idea. Last year I spent 5 days in a stroke unit having numerous tests, vital signs recordings, scans, assessment from the MDT etc etc. I asked the Consultant before discharge if I could have all this health info ‘uploaded’ somehow to my E health record. He just smiled and shook his head, the way you’d look at a 4 year old who’d just asked to fly to Mars. A month or so later, I went to see my wonderful GP. A real star; proactive, computer literate, ‘on to everything’, a GP from heaven. “How have you been?” she asked. Not bad I said, apart from my 5 days in the Stroke Unit I replied. WHAT stay? (I could see where this was going :-) She had no record of my stay and uttered the immortal words: “They usually send me a fax” Sweet Jesus! I’ve run a business for 10 years now, and a hospital Research Dept before that and can hardly remember the last time I sent or received a “fax”. Imagine popping into JB Hi-Fi or Officeworks and telling them you need a fax machine. :-) They’d die laughing. So far in Australia the health record has been a 1 to 1.5 billion dollar black hole. We have some way to go before we reach the NHS health nadir of around 10 billion dollars simply “written off” and never seen again, but we may get there. At the moment I can download and use ANY of a hundred apps on my iPhone that can do more than our e-health record even promises (at some time in the future, God willing) As I say, I wish I could share your optimism but so far, it looks like we are stuck in an infinite loop episode of Utopia with no way out.

Cheers, Prof. Philip Darbyshire