E-health just like online banking: Roxon

E-health just like online banking: Roxon

Summary: Accessing your personal electronic health record via an online portal in 2012 will be just like using online banking, according to Health Minister Nicola Roxon.


Accessing your personal electronic health record via an online portal in 2012 will be just like using online banking, according to Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

"The actual design is still to be developed but the easiest way to think of this is to think about online banking, with clear information like allergies and medications upfront," she said during an online chat on The Australian's website this afternoon. "But you control access and information is very secure."

Labor has allocated $466.7 million in this year's Federal budget to deliver e-health over the next two years. Earlier this year Roxon set the deadline for the portal to be ready by July 2012. She said today that a patient portal used by GP partners in Brisbane could be the prototype for the national system.

Earlier this week Roxon announced that GP Partners patients along with those of other healthcare providers in the Hunter Valley and Melbourne would be the first to try out the national e-health records because they were already trialling similar systems in their own clinics.

During the hour-long chat, Roxon also stressed there would be rules in place to determine how the technology to manage the e-health records would be used.

"With all new items for Medicare Rebates and for the new use of technology we always seek technical and clinical advice from doctors, the government's own Chief Medical Officer and external experts," she said. "Protocols will be in place to guide what it is appropriate to do on line and what is not."

Roxon also revealed that patients wishing to use the videoconferencing after hours GP service announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday would not be required to have an e-health record for the doctor to access prior to diagnosis.

"No patient will be forced to have an e-health record to access telehealth or other Medicare funded services," she said. "But ... having information about your health available to any doctor diagnosing your condition would be likely to assist that diagnosis."

(Front page image credit: Red Cross image by Rhona, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Topics: Health, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • I personally don't want access to my health records, i just want my doctor to - like he does at the moment, online and immediately accessable. I also dont want "control" over my health records. What if i'm unconcious? Another waste of taxpayers money for something that already exists (in QLD anyway), and another way for Govt to snoop on my personal data.
  • Unfortunately if it is just like online banking, then it will be open to hacking, phising and scamming. Like many 'plans', 'ideas' and 'aspirations' over recent years, I have grave doubts whether it will ever be properly implemented in a medical sense, and if it will ever be as secure as it needs to be. Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea and in many areas it will provide great benefits, but when it comes to my and my family's health and government departments (of all political pursuasions) then I have great foreboding.
  • Great! My credit card gets skimmed and someone wipes out my bank account.

    Now my Medicare card gets skimmed and some looks up information that I want kept private. Thankfully, I don't need a Proctologist.
  • Obviously, Minister Roxon only talk to bureaucrats and not doctors. These problems have not been solved yet: Who has access of to the records (doesn't matter who holds them), who is going make sure it is accurate (at the moment your GP holds most of your info but if all sorts of people can get access to your e-records, will it be accurate?) and who will pay your GP to have the hardware and software interface as well as to keep it up to date. They spent >$300mil to discuss the universal health identifier over three years and yet can't come to anything (implemented by bureaucrats irrespective of vendors' concerns despite hours of meeting and 'consultation"), what hope do we have that anything will come anytime soon?

    Typical way the Rudd/Gillard government does thing in health. Rolled out without consulting the users (doctors and software developers) first. Another BER or pink bats in the making. Alot more money will be chewed up before we see anything useful to clinical care comes up.
  • I would not trust that backstabber Gillard - she will have you in the grave before your next birthday.

    Your records should be left with your doctor, not the bloody pollies!!!

    I've been a labour voter all the while, (with 18 yrs in NSW, Vic & SA). But no way I would support her or the party she has lynched...
  • I'm very skeptical about the Government being able to get hold of my medical records. Next thing you know we will be tagged like dogs or cats with chips.
    It's just another politician's lurk to irrationally spend money.
    It would make more sense to enable medicos to efficiently exchange information between themselves, not have all sorts of private and confidential information.