Roxon launches 9 new e-health projects

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has announced the next wave of projects to pave the way for a national implementation of personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR).
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has announced the next wave of projects to pave the way for a national implementation of personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR).

The Federal Government has allocated $55 million to nine new projects to carry the torch following e-health lead implementations in the Hunter Valley, Brisbane and Melbourne last year.

"In these nine projects we can see practical examples of how e-health can improve healthcare for patients," Roxon said in a statement.

There had been 90 applications received to be part of the next nine lead implementations, according to Roxon. Together with the first three sites, the government hoped to have more than half a million Australians enrolled before the national launch of the e-health records next year. Whether patients decide to have an e-health record or not is up to them.

The nine further projects chosen for the second wave of funding are:

  • Medibank Private will create a portal to integrate consumer information into a Health Book for customers and providers involved in its health management and chronic disease management programs. Medibank won't use the information to handle claims or to test eligibility for benefits, according to the government.
  • Fred IT will deploy MedView at pharmacies and general practitioners in the Geelong region. Using a medicines repository and national electronic prescription standards, the deployment will allow up to 2 million patients and their providers to see a list of medications prescribed and dispensed to patients, even if those patients have interacted with multiple doctors and pharmacies. The project will involve RED, eRx, Best Practice, Zedmed, iCare, Microsoft and Simpl.
  • Brisbane South General Practice Division aims to enrol up to 25,000 patients with disabilities and their carers, war veterans and widows as well as school children onto PCEHR. The project will involve two divisions of general practice, public and private hospitals, allied health providers and GPs.
  • Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane will implement a PCEHR for maternity patients and newborns in the Brisbane area. It hopes to reach 9000 mothers and involve three GP divisions, specialist obstetricians and software vendor InterSystems.
  • St Vincent's and Mater Health Sydney will roll-out PCEHR components such as GP health summaries and referrals and will work on enabling two shared electronic health record systems (from Smart Health Solutions and Precedence Healthcare) to interoperate. The project could reach 1 million individuals and also involves HCN and Best Practice.
  • The Greater Western Sydney e-Health Consortium will pave the way for a NSW-wide implementation. It will implement secure messaging, e-referrals and a medical imaging repository for patients, focusing on mothers and babies, the aged and chronically ill, as well as those with different cultural backgrounds. Involving four GP divisions, its reach could be as wide as 1,750,000 people.
  • The Northern Territory Department of Health and Families will leverage its existing e-health record to provide residents in the territory, as well as indigenous communities in South Australia and Western Australia with a PCEHR-aligned record.
  • The Tasmanian North West Area Health Service will target aged and palliative care medical specialists, nurse consultants, patients and their families in north-west Tasmania. It will use off-the-shelf care planning software to share care directives until the PCEHR is implemented.
  • Calvary Health Care ACT will test existing e-health systems from iSoft, HCN, HealthLink, Smart Health Solutions and Precedence Health Care under the new national PCEHR foundations. This project is intended to support a cross border population of 800,000 people.

The government expects to see plans for the projects from the lead organisations by May.

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