Pathology and imaging records worked back into Aussie eHealth system

The Australian government is spending another AU$8 million to reintroduce eHealth records features that had been left off the original specification in 2011.

After being struck from the Australian government's eHealth records system at the last second, pathology and diagnostic imaging results are now being worked back into the system.

In 2011, as the Concept of Operations report into how the nation's personally-controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system would work was being finalised, the scope of the system was reduced. This included the removal of diagnostic imaging reports, with the expectation that they would be included at a later date.

Now, after two years, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has announced that AU$8 million has been invested in upgrading medical software to accommodate these records.

This means that some day, blood tests and MRI and x-ray images will be available in eHealth records, rather than needing physical documents that could be lost, or requiring duplicate tests.

"The AU$8 million investment includes funding for planning and design work associated with upgrading medical software used by doctors so results can be downloaded or uploaded at the click of a button," Plibersek said in a statement.

"This work will pave the way for x-ray and MRI images themselves to be stored on a patient's eHealth record in the future."

The new capabilities are expected to start rolling out in 2014.