​Eight Victorian health services to become fax-free with AU$1.6m funding boost

As part of a AU$1.6 million funding boost, the Victorian state government will be updating eight health services, swapping fax machines for digital reports.

As part of a AU$1.6 million funding boost, eight health services in Victoria will receive a technology upgrade that will see fax machines no longer in use for sharing patient information upon discharge.

According to the state government, Electronic Discharge Summaries will replace what it called old-fashioned and unreliable faxes that offer "poor security", and will include details about a patient's stay in hospital, their diagnosis, tests and procedures performed, prognosis, medications prescribed, and recommended follow up.

"We're rolling out modern technology for a modern health system, giving doctors the tools to better communicate vital information about patient care, medications, and conditions," Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said in a statement.

"This will support doctors to provide their patients better care when they return home after hospital."

Services receiving a slice of the AU$1.6 million funding include: Melbourne Health, Monash Health, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Alfred, The Royal Women's Hospital, Western Health, Gippsland Health Alliance, and Grampians Rural Health Alliance.

In addition to digitising discharge summaries, the Victorian government has also implemented a pilot eReferral program that four local health networks and community health services will be involved in.

The Victorian eReferral Program has been created with the aim of simplifying the way GPs create a patient referral from their desktop and send it to a relevant healthcare provider.

With a focus on six failed IT projects, Victoria's Acting Auditor-General Dr Peter Frost prepared a report last month that highlighted how the state's IT projects continue to show poor planning and implementation with cost and scheduling overruns.

At a cost to taxpayers of AU$480,000, Frost said that the latest audit confirms that IT projects in the state continue to show poor planning and implementation, which he believes results in significant delays and budget blowouts.

"Unfortunately, the Victorian public sector does not have a good track record of successfully completing ICT projects," Frost wrote.

"Weaknesses in planning and implementation mean that these investments often: Do not meet functionality expectations nor demonstrate expected outcomes, cost much more than the planned budget, and/or are delivered much later than planned, and are cancelled prior to completion, while still incurring significant costs."