After two days of discussions in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the state and territory governments have not committed to a date to implement a national individual electronic health record, although the issue now seems to have become a priority.
"COAG noted the importance of continuing to work towards a national Individual Electronic Health Record system and agreed to prioritise discussions over the coming months to move towards the implementation phase," COAG's communiqué (PDF) said.
The authority the Federal Government has put in charge of rolling out a 16-digit number for most Australians, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), has said that an electronic healthcare record would be a "secure, electronic record of your medical history, stored and shared in a network of connected systems" which would give patients "the opportunity to look at [their] health information using a computer".
NEHTA has had the business case for rolling out such a record for some time now, but it has been passed over for consideration in COAG meetings a number of times.
Peter Fleming, NEHTA chief executive, told ZDNet Australia today that he was "ready to engage" with stakeholders on an IEHR "when the government gave the go-ahead".
On 9 April, the Victorian Government called for an updated business case for the roll-out of the electronic health record to be approved at the COAG meeting.
In December 2009, COAG committed to introducing an individual healthcare identifier. That identifier is planned to be introduced from 1 July.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon's office had not responded to ZDNet Australia at the time of writing.