NSW govt mulls e-health expansion

NSW govt mulls e-health expansion

Summary: NSW Health has put forward a plan to the state government to extend the reach of its electronic medical record (EMR) program into clinics and intensive care units, underpinned by an ongoing network refresh.

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NSW Health has put forward a plan to the state government to extend the reach of its electronic medical record (EMR) program into clinics and intensive care units, underpinned by an ongoing network refresh.

Speaking at the CeBIT 2011 eHealth conference yesterday, Dr Ian Rodgers, director of the NSW e-health strategy branch, said that the second phase of the state's e-health plan is currently being mulled over by the parliament.

Phase two, according to Rodgers, is set to expand the use of the EMR program in NSW to intensive care units, paediatric units and local clinics.

"This system is aimed at extending the reach of the EMR project into those high dependency areas and the scope of the project includes 45 adult and paediatric [intensive care units] and high dependency units," Rodgers said.

"This is the project that will provide the clinicians the availability to plug in all those monitoring and other important devices and heighten the decision support necessary for them to do their job," he added.

NSW Health is also set to continue its network and datacentre modernisation programs to deliver what Rodgers calls a "hospital-grade" network to service EMR access.

"We had an ICT infrastructure phase that will build on the current project, and this is about focusing on moving the ICT infrastructure into a healthcare-grade network ... to make the systems available 99.999 per cent of the time, in the true meaning of mission critical systems," Rodgers told delegates.

"Most of the focus has been updating aged servers and network switches and the like. There is an ongoing investment required to progress this infrastructure to a state where it's described as a hospital- or health-grade network," he added.

Rodgers said that NSW Health is also set to review the governance around the EMR project, while developing a new e-health strategy document for the next five years.

"The [current strategy] runs out of puff this calendar year, and it hasn't been touched really since 2006, so it's obvious we need to refresh that strategy, and that'll be an area of focus for the next six months."

Topics: Health, Government, Government AU

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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