Health data changes Down Under: My Health Record, Tim Kelsey and Telstra

Australia’s federal government is hoping for a boost to its national personal health records system, starting with a renaming of Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) to My Health Record. Proposed in the government’s $485 million budget announcement on eHealth is a resolution of implementation issues and introducing trials of participation models including designing opt-out approaches. Currently enrollment stands at a paltry 10 percent of Australians. Computer World (Australia) Hat tip to Mike Clark via Twitter

Come December, also taking the long trip there will be NHS England national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey to join Telstra Health as commercial director. Telstra is Australia’s largest telecom developing a footprint in health, and earlier this year acquired Dr Foster LLP, the UK-based health informatics company. Coincidentally (?), Mr Kelsey co-founded Dr Foster prior to 2006, when he joined the NHS to start up the information site NHS Choices. During his NHS tenure, Mr Kelsey faced numerous controversies which are detailed in the Guardian and IT news/opinion site The Register reports, mainly concerning the Care.data database for all English medical records. Concerns were raised about inadequate privacy, transparency and confidentiality provision in its design, and after a halt it has still not restarted, although 1 million people have preemptively opted out–another issue in common with My Health Record. According to the Guardian, “The scheme was recently labelled “unachievable” by a Whitehall watchdog, the Major Projects Authority, which said the future of the programme should be reassessed.” A successor to Mr Kelsey has not yet been named.

Telstra has spent $100M on telehealth

Telstra Health has splashed out $100 million buying up other telehealth companies, it was revealed at a recent conference. Bronwyn Pike, former Minister of Health in Victoria and now Community Care Lead at Telstra Health, addressing the 13th National Rural Health Conference[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Telstra-Health.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] held in Darwin from May 24th to 27th, described how Telstra Health wants to transform rural health in Australia.

“Increasing demand, rising costs and more people with chronic illness are among the challenges Australia’s health care industry is facing. Working harder can only go so far — we need to reimagine what the future could look like”, Pike wrote in her abstract.

“Helping users to do more for themselves has been a key feature of almost every other industry change of the last decade. Banking is a perfect example — where once every single interaction required your physical presence in front of a teller, now you can manage almost every aspect of your banking needs securely online.

“Health is caught in a model that is inconvenient for patients and labour intensive for health care providers. We need to tailor the model to suit the health industry and capitalise on the benefits connection can provide. Those living in rural and remote communities without regular access to all levels of care stand to benefit enormously if we can unlock the potential of ehealth”