Connecting for Health has reached an unstoppable momentum and "essentially the war is won", chief executive Richard Granger has told a conference in Australia.

He is quoted in The Australian newspaper as saying that patients are already benefiting from the programme and that deployment was well underway.

"The real revolution is in patients being able to take control over their own health,” he told the CHIK Services Health-e-Nation conference in Melbourne last week.

In an interview with newspaper after the conference, reproduced on Australian IT, Granger explained how the balance of power is shifting from clinicians to patients aided by modern IT.

Connecting for Health is part of the vanguard towards patient involvement, he says, moving away from "the more paternalistic and interventionist model; it’s involving the patient in lifestyle choices and medication decisions."

Increased access to information by patients was also on the cards, Granger told Australian IT, through the website. "People are going to that site to find out about the performance of hospitals, infection rates in hospitals, opening times, when clinics are provided."

In the interview, published online today, he added that was eventually going to start publishing details of individual performance. “We’re not down to individual clinician performance as yet, but we will move to that,” he said

On the subject of the healthcare software marketplace, Granger said it was a "paradox", that something so important was immature compared to banking or manufacturing software. Collaboration was already taking place in the sector, he stressed.

"We’re having this mass industrialisation in health which is the equivalent of the consolidation of the car industry between the 1970s and the 1990s," Granger told the paper.

He said he was seeing more links between previously competing areas, and the market was concentrating more on basic clinician requirements.

Vendors were "schizophrenic" about co-operation, said Granger; while basic interoperability was important they were aiming to make the "value-added feature of the device, or the software… proprietary."

Rising standards "leads to some small players who have modern, well designed software having a good future, and some larger players that have software based on 10- or 15-year-old products finding it very difficult to modernise their code set to work on the new standards," he said.

Granger gave conference delegates an update of progress and deployment so far in the five clusters, and spoke of the risks between deployment and the "unsatisfactory status quo".

He told Australian IT that seamlessly deploying systems in hospitals was naturally difficult: "You’re changing the wheels while the vehicle’s still driving."

"Human factors" were also involved as well; for instance, a busy consultant may find it difficult to simultaneously operate a physician order-entry system and see their patients, rather than writing paper notes and sending them out.

"Unfortunately, some of the best tools have been developed on a single-institution basis. They have very rich functionality, but they create an information chasm outside of the department or institution in which they work."


Australian IT, part of The Australian