Following Telstra’s announcement that it is stepping into the e-health arena with a suite of web-delivered e-health solutions and services in a deal it signed with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, an analyst from Ovum says top-down reform of the sector will prove to be a tough game.
Telstra is aiming to offer medical practitioners the benefits of the latest application functionality and standards-based interoperability accessed via the Internet from a secure and robust cloud back end.
Dr Steve Richardson, director at Ovum said: “One of the biggest challenges for e-health reform is to achieve a more coherent and integrated approach to sharing information across more than 1,300 hospitals, 20,000 GP and specialist practices, and 5,000 pharmacies. The fragmentation of the sector’s governance regimes and ongoing turmoil in funding and organisational arrangements make top-down reform a tough game that will be played out over decades.”
Dr Richardson said Telstra should look for ways to accelerate bottom-up interoperability, which is all about the clinical and practice-management systems implemented in medical practices. Upgrading these systems and orchestrating them to produce a national e-health symphony is a huge task.
Dr Richardson said the Health sector could learn vital lessons from other sectors.
Salesforce.com’s SaaS CRM and service-center applications are used by more than 75,000 organisations around the world, ranging from some with thousands of users to others with only a few.
“This provides a thought-provoking example of how SaaS solutions can achieve a critical mass of bottom-up adoption simply by providing a better “mousetrap” – a good enough solution that is easier to try, buy, deploy, and use than more traditional in-house alternatives because the application is already running at scale and available over the Internet, and data just needs to be migrated,” he said.
“Telstra has some toe-in-the-water experience with its T-Suite SaaS portal, but it will need to come up with a much more compelling offering to create momentum in the fragmented e-health market,” said Richardson.
“In our view the key will be to provide integration benefits in addition to those from simply plugging GPs into a robust computing utility. Telstra will need to orchestrate an integrated suite of SaaS offerings pre-configured to align and stay aligned with the standards and interoperability requirements of the national e-health strategy, and also leverage its communications strengths in areas such as telehealth. This would make a better mousetrap,” said Richardson.