Vendors want data sharing standards sooner not later

4 minute read

Once shy about government mandates, the MSIA now wants action on a standards and policy roadmap.

Major software vendors say they are in need of a much clearer roadmap from the government on future data-sharing standards and policy, so they can plan and invest properly for a “sharing by default” mandated government future.

In the past Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) members have been cautious about the idea that government might mandate standards via legislation, often suggesting that the “market will find a way”.

But in the midst of a series of new government initiatives based on the concept of  “sharing by default”, an initiative that senior figures in the DoHAC are openly comparing to aspects of the 21st Century Cures Act in the US, many of our major software vendors are now calling for more clarity and certainty.

Citing a clearer and more transparent government procurement process in the NHS in the UK, CEO of Alcidion, Kate Quirk told the audience at a recent MedInfo23 industry session that Australian vendors now need a roadmap from the government.

“What is it that we are going to be following or working towards in terms of standards?” she asked.

“If you really want us to sign up to where we’re heading in respect to [a] roadmap, there is no point then going out to tender and ignoring those standards when you make a selection.

“This happens all the time. Everybody wants to actually know where you want us to go. But please, once you tell us to go in that direction, do not go in the opposite direction to what you’ve asked us to do, because that is when you get us disengaged,” she said.

“If you do this [roadmap] and we invest in it, you need to step up and actually respect that.

“I know it’s very difficult for people who are procuring systems but collegiately we all need to make sure that we’re all on the same roadmap.”

Oracle’s market strategist in Australia Philip Loya told the audience that better alignment was crucial between the wants and needs of their customers – Oracle owns Cerner, which has a big presence in NSW, Queensland and Victoria in major hospitals – and the needs of government, in order for vendors to deliver more effectively.

Pointing out the rapid alignment that occurred as a result of the demands of covid, he said that without a pandemic to drive alignment other things were needed, such as standards.

“One of our challenges is that if we’re all going independently, we could end up in a situation in which it may take 10 years to pick up some new standard, not because any one of us doesn’t think that it’s a good standard or that it’s not the right way to go, but because we’re all working on different roadmaps, with different client bases and there are client bases that maybe aren’t asking for that standard,” he said.

Mr Loya also touched on the problem of procurement in Australia often being a black box for vendors in the absence of an agreed roadmap and standards.

He said that vendors need much more advanced notice on tenders for the tools, technologies and standards that a procurement group is wanting.

“We need more lead time and a chance to see better where everything is going,” he said.

Global standards and FHIR expert Grahame Grieve said that, unlike some other advanced health reform countries, Australia still didn’t view healthcare transformation as one of its core infrastructure issues, but rather looked at it as separate digital transformation problem.

“Industry has to think of the problem in terms of the public and political perception of what we do, and orientate themselves around that,” he said.

He said industry needed to design around helping politicians to achieve their objectives and make it easier for them by being more collaborative internally.

Not long after the industry session, DoHAC First Assistant Secretary for Digital Health Daniel McCabe took to the plenary stage to outline “sharing by default” as the major new direction the government intended to take the sector.

Mr McCabe said that the idea behind “sharing by default” was that all providers will be able to share patient data in real time in any care setting, and that to get there legislation on new policy, privacy and standards for sharing would be needed.

Mr McCabe didn’t put a timeline on when the government would be ready with a policy and standards outline that would be acceptable to various stakeholders, but as far as a standards framework is concerned key people in the know suggest that it will be at least another 12-24 months before one is ready.

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×