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Vic wants COAG decision on e-health

The Victorian Government yesterday called for the business case for the roll-out of a national individual electronic health record (IEHR) to be approved at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting this month.
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Written by Suzanne Tindal and  Ben Grubb on

The Victorian Government yesterday called for an updated business case for the roll-out of a national individual electronic health record (IEHR) to be approved at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting this month.

"A business case for IEHRs for every Australian is ready for consideration by COAG," the state government said in its Putting Patients First proposal. "Victoria strongly supports COAG endorsing the business case as part of the overall health reform package, and the Commonwealth funding it from the Health and Hospitals Fund, with additional support from states."

The idea is that individual health records will allow Australians to easily access and share information such as test results, prescriptions and hospital discharge information with all of their healthcare providers.

The business case for the IEHR scheme, created by the National E-health Transition Authority (NEHTA), was first submitted to COAG in October 2008, but the financial crisis intervened and e-health was pushed off COAG's list of issues to consider. At subsequent COAG meetings, the business plan was not considered urgent enough to merit immediate attention.

The Victorian Government feels that now is the time for the business case to get a hearing.

It said it was fully behind the roll-out of electronic records, saying it was confident that appropriate privacy measures were in place.

The cost to create an effective e-health system is estimated to be between $1.2 billion to $1.9 million.

Last December, COAG committed to a goal of rolling out individual health identifier numbers to facilitate the sharing of patient data.

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