Federal-state divide just an ‘excuse’ for fragmented data exchange

3 minute read

Activity-based funding risks collecting data for the sake of payment rather than to meet patient needs.

Australia must stop using the separation between federal and state governments as an excuse for not delivering seamless data flow and value-based care, according to Jay Rebbeck, CEO and founder of international healthcare consultancy firm Rebbeck.

“It can’t be the excuse that we keep on using. We’ve got to find ways to get around these structural problems to make value-based care a reality,” Mr Rebbeck told attendees at yesterday’s Wild Health summit.

“Unless we’ve got data liquidity, we can’t have value-based healthcare.

“The minute you get consumers in the room and you get them to talk about their journey through the system, you realise just how horribly ineffective it is, and how poorly integrated and how we don’t actually have the communication of data (and) the data liquidity to enable it. Those are some of the system issues we have to address.

“It’s only because we’re so far behind doing what’s kind of obvious that we have to call it value-based care.”

According to Kate Ebrill, head of interoperability at the CSIRO’s e-Health research centre, more emphasis needed to be placed on collecting high-quality, reusable data at the point of care and making data-reporting systems more efficient for clinicians.  

“A lot of what we’ve done in the past around data has been defining those data standards from that secondary use point of view. We’ve never come back to saying what’s the information that the clinicians need at the point of care? What do the consumers need?” Ms Ebrill said.

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“Everything is going to be based on having good quality data and we need to make the systems pleasurable and efficient for clinicians to use to record that data, and there’s lots of new technologies that will make that happen.

“Then we need to think about those data standards from that primary use of data first, and then look at how those data standards can then be reused and rolled out at regional, and national level to support population health.”

Ms Ebrill said that Australia must be “really, really careful” when it came to activity-based funding models, which risked driving preferred outcomes and degrading the quality of data recorded.

“People record the information for the sake of getting payment, and it’s ‘what’s the code that’s needed for that’, not ‘what is the information that’s required for the next person in the keychain’,” she said.

“You do need to have the right policy settings, but we need to make sure that it’s not ever viewed as ‘I’m recording information for the sake of payment’, because then we’ll start to see perverse outcomes where anything gets put on the record for payment, not the information that’s required for the individual.”

Ms Ebrill was one of five international panellists discussing Australia’s progress towards value-based care through digital health initiatives, compared to countries such as New Zealand.

Other panellists were Derek Felton, CEO, Felton Consulting, Director of i3 Dr Penny Andrew, Digital Health Association NZ CEO Ryl Jensen and Dr Natalie Thorne, Scientific Director at Genomical.

Do you have a story tip for us, or a topic you would like to see us cover? Contact the editor at editor@healthservicesdaily.com.au.

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