Healthbase Blog

banking on ehealth liquidity

The Australian Government has released its proposal for a “Competitive and Sustainable Banking System”, consisting of a number of parallel streams, the first of which includes:-

The Government will appoint former Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Bernie Fraser to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study to examine the technological options, the potential timeline and processes for implementing full account number portability.”

Building such account number portability must surely be technically fairly simple, so why such a high powered enquiry? Certainly it must be far, far simpler than building a  comprehensive network of health information exchange capability and a PCEHR system for all Australians.

Yet according to recent media articles, such as :-

“Labelling transferability ”the Holy Grail of bank reforms”, the independent senator Nick Xenophon said if it worked it could make changing banks as easy as changing power companies. He rejected claims by some banks that it could take a decade, saying it ”only took eight years to put a man on the moon”.

It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds, and if e-health policy makers can learn any lessons therefrom.

Comments (1)

One Response to banking on ehealth liquidity

  1. David More says:

    Hi Eric,

    Sadly the banks are still using systems that just survived Y2K. They are old and inflexible and if you change a requirement like this would you need people who are good at stuff like COBOL and I fear they are a bit thin on the ground. Even small change might cost a motza!

    The other, and bigger issue is, of course, that we need to make a careful decision between bank stability and bank profitability. In simple terms unprofitable banks can bring down a financial system – see the USA and Europe for examples (100’s of them) and the fun of the GFC. We need to have banks that have the right balance and can I say the Parliamentary Inquiry has made it pretty clear the politicians are clueless as to how to do this and all the regulators I have heard have said – ‘be bloody careful before you mess with something that is sort of working’ – given the US and European banks are not actually in that category.

    I have been watching closely and I really reckon unless you have 10+ years in bank regulation and macro economics at doctoral level the risk of messing up can be very high and very dangerous.

    Your mileage may, of course, vary. This all sounds pretty simple but I am finding the more I learn the more I realise I do not know!



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