The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has welcomed the findings of a recent e-health survey conducted by CSC showing that Australians want an e-health record, despite the results also revealing that over 50 per cent of Australians surveyed were in the dark about the government's e-health initiatives.
At the Australian Information Industry Association National Broadband Forum held in Melbourne today, NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming said a CSC report released yesterday backs the organisation's own findings that the vast majority of Australians want electronic health records.
"Some research we did indicated that 80 per cent of Australia support the push to electronic health records [and] I notice last night that CSC released some findings from their recent research that tends to support that view," said Fleming.
However, the results of CSC's survey of 1208 Australians also showed that many Australians were unaware of the government's e-health plans. The survey — conducted in March prior to the $466.7 million federal budget investment in e-heath — revealed that just 43 per cent of people were aware of the government's plans for individual electronic health records.
The report also found that once the concept of an electronic health record was explained, 64 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of the records, while 24 per cent were opposed.
Paying for the records was another matter. The survey revealed that 70 per cent of people were unwilling to pay an annual fee for an electronic health record. Those who were, were willing to pay an average of $46 a year.
Lisa Pettigrew, director of health services for CSC Australia, highlighted that 63 per cent of consumers expected private health insurers to pitch in with state and federal governments to fund the e-health records.
"Consumers now expect e-health records and expect the basic foundations to be funded as part of the health system, primarily, and convincingly, by governments, with contributions from others such as health insurers," she said.
Pettigrew urged the government to spend the $466.7 million investment wisely.
"Based on CSC's global experience in healthcare, a logical next step for the Australian Government would be to define a pragmatic plan for rapidly developing basic e-health records for patients and consumers to access, which also delivers benefits to clinicians in terms of access to the right information about their patients at the right time," she said.