Optional EHR For Every Australian By 2012

Jianggan of FutureGov post an article of immerse interest to me  – an opportunity back ‘home’ 🙂

The Australian Government plans to spend A$467 million (US$400 million) over the next two years to create an electronic health record for every Australian who opts to have one.

The plan was revealed in the Government’s 2010-11 budget papers.

“Patients will no longer have to remember every detail of their care history and retell it to every care provider they see,” according to a statement by Health Minister Nicola Roxon. “They will be able to present for treatment anywhere in the country and give permission for health professionals to access their relevant history.”

Intended to be a ‘summary view of an individual’s health information’, each record will include clinical data such as conditions, treatments, medications, test results, allergies and alerts.

A report released earlier this month found an e-health system could save the Australian health system A$7.6 billion (US$ 6.4 billion) annually by 2020 and prevent 5000 deaths each year.

To be rolled out in a ‘staged approach’, the project will prioritise people who have the most contact with the care system, including those with chronic/complex health conditions, older citizens, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as mothers and their newborn children.

Lead implementation sites will be created to allow ‘a careful evaluation of the system’.

Key stakeholders, including states and territories in the federal country, will be consulted during the designing phase of the proposed system.

According to the government’s plan, A$185.6 million will be made available in 2010/11, A$281.2 million next fiscal year. Further funding would also be considered by the Government, depending on the status of the rollout.

The government’s National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, which recommended the introduction of EHR, stressed that an electronic health record should at all times be owned and controlled by the patient”.

Roxon said in the statement that rigorous governance and oversight will be imposed to maintain privacy.

Patients will not only be able to decide who gets to see their records, but also what is to be stored in the files.

A 16 digit Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) will be automatically generated for each citizen to allow unique and accurate identification. The relevant legislation has been put forward before the Senate.

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