Extra funding for the personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) will be required in order to support sharing and storage of diagnostic images, according to the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association (ADIA).
The government has laid out $466.7 million in funding for the implementation of its e-health agenda, with PCEHRs scheduled to be made available to the public by 1 July.
While these records will allow sharing of basic medical information, more funding will be required to ensure that x-ray images and other medical diagnostic images are able to be shared between healthcare providers, the association noted in a submission to a parliament inquiry.
"This will involve some level of investment in e-health applications over and above that which has already been made," the association said. "We anticipate that a number of funding issues will need to be worked through with government to provide an incentive for practices to participate in PCEHR."
Diagnostic imaging centres will need to be issued with Health Identifiers and interoperability standards will need to be revised, according to ADIA. Policy and technical standards will be needed for the storage and disposal of images.
ADIA said it was involved with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) on developing the standards, but these were still in their infancy, and not expected to be available in 2012.
While ADIA is calling for more funding, the Department of Health and Ageing revealed in its submission that it had signed a $34 million memorandum of understanding with the Department of Human Services to upgrade Medicare's Health Identifier system to include PCEHR functions. This upgrade will allow the system to interface with PCEHR core systems to enable registrations and allow the department to manage inquiries. DHS would also be able to build a repository for information about the Medicare Benefits Schedule, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and the Australian Organ Donation Register.
This memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed as an agreement before 1 July 2012.