blog Hilarious news comes from the Federal Government’s flagship e-health conference in Melbourne this week, where Health Minister has revealed that part of Labor’s $466.7 million national e-health project will be spent on … an iPhone app for doctors. Quoth ZDNet:
The app is still in the development stage, but a demonstration of the app at the conference showed that doctors would be able to access a patient’s e-health record. The record could potentially contain information such as x-ray results or allergy details, depending on what the patient chose to provide.
Where do I even begin here? How about the fact that any iPhone application is ultimately only a window into the incredibly complex mishmash of technology platforms that constitutes Australia’s e-health systems — with a different set of them for every state, and sometimes even different sets within each state?
How about the fact that Roxon’s pimping of this iPhone app demonstrates incredibly naivity about the fact that it is Australia’s back-end e-health infrastructure that needs to be integrated and fixed in general, not the client architecture that the iPhone app represents? How about the fact that that iPhone app likely won’t be able to access even 10 percent of what it needs to, because of that mishmash of disparate systems?
How about the fact that the iPhone app presents potential security and privacy risks, because it will be able to be downloaded by anyone through Apple’s App Store, as the iPhone does not allow sideloading of applications? All it would take in this context is for a doctor’s credentials — or even the iPhone itself — for a patient’s privacy to be compromised.
Nicola Roxon, you are a goose. You know very little about e-health, and what you do know is plainly being fed to you by your departmental bureaucrats, who appear to be incompetent. Australia needs some serious action on e-health. You’ve proven Labor understands the need for capital injection in the sector; now let’s see you prove you know what that money should be spent on. Here’s a clue: An iPhone app is not the answer.