[LINK] Roxon revives smartcard plan

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Jun 17 09:50:15 EST 2009


At 09:47 AM 16/06/2009, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
>... This smartcard plan is nothing like the access card project, so I don't
>know why they are using the term "revives". ...

It is not yet clear what the smart card plan is and so in that sense 
it is like the previous access card project. The federal Health 
Minister, Nicola Roxon, is quoted in the media as saying health 
records would be stored on a card, with her office later denying it: 
<http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,,25610629-15319,00.html>.

I was on the ACS Council when we were given a briefing on the 
previous project by the then responsible Minister's staff (the 
Minister attended cocktails afterwards). I had the chance to ask 
questions about the project, to which I did not get sensible answers. 
I wrote a critique of the project 
<http://www.tomw.net.au/technology/it/smartcard/>. The project was 
later cancelled.

A Medicare smartcard makes sense if limited to medical purposes. That 
way there is a chance of implementing it in a realistic time frame 
and a reasonable cost. It also reduces the privacy issues. However, 
there has to be a useful purpose for the card. As an example, if 
there is no system of standardised e-heath records, then there is no 
point in having a smart card to access them 
<http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2008/11/open-source-for-australian-e-health.html>.

A smart card might help reduce Medicare fraud, but as I discussed 
with the previous proposal, with the previous Minister and their 
staff, there are easier and cheaper ways to do that. The smart card 
itself is relatively cheap, it is the systems around it which are expensive.

The current minister needs to decide now if this is a project which 
is in the public interest and if so, then put in place limited goals 
and effective project management. Otherwise it would be better to 
cancel it now, rather than have the embarrassment of another failed 
access card project.



Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  



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