DoHA announces second wave e-health sites

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) has unveiled the second wave of e-health implementation sites to deploy and trial specific aspects of the Gillard Government’s $466.7 million personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) initiative.

Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, said the announced e-health implementation sites, to join the initial three sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne East, was the next step in the Federal Government’s health reform project.

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

The announced sites, include both North and South Brisbane and the maternity unit at the Mater Hospital, as well as sites across the Northern Territory, South Australia and the ACT. The sites will receive a share of $55 million from the project for implementation.

Each site will focus on a particular demographic identified as a high priority for e-health records. Those in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australian will focus on indigenous populations, chronic disease patients will be the focus in western Sydney while the aged care and palliative care patients will become priority at those sites in NSW, the ACT and Tasmania.

“With more than 90 applications received, it’s clear there is a high level of support for e-health," Roxon said.

According to Roxon, the total 12 e-health sites will be aiming to have in excess of half a million Australian enrolled before the national launch of the electronic health records on 1 July 2012.

“E-health is one of the critical elements of the Gillard Government’s efforts to modernise our health system through national health reform,” she said. “Most importantly, these projects can help to reduce the chance of medical errors and save patients from having to repeat their health history every time they visit a new doctor.”

Commenting on the announcement, Medibank Private managing director, George Savvides, said the e-health project will initially focus on members enrolled in their health management and chronic disease management programs enabling them to record their own health data.

“Medibank Private members will be able to access their own Health Book, which will combine their health records with a personal health diary and help them better manage and understand their own health care needs,” Savvides said in a statement.

"Over time, Medibank's Health Book will help members better manage their chronic disease by also including health management plans, medical test results and prompting them with reminders about appointments or other health events."

As reported by lt;igt;Computerworld Australialt;/igt;, IBM Australia recently won the tender to deliver a secure messaging platform to be used in the PCEHR initiative under the NASH portion of the project. The $23.6 million contract, to last until 30 June 2012, was awarded by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) following an extensive tender first launched in September last year.

Earlier this month, e-health consumer advocacy group, known as the Consumer Centred eHealth Coalition (CCeHC), recently joined a growing choir of those dissatisfied with the lack of communication from lead agencies surrounding PCEHR project.

In a blog post the group voiced concerns over three community consultation workshops held by the DoHA and e-health managing agency National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), arguing the sessions failed to provide enough detail around the project.

The nine sites are:

  • Medibank Private

  • FRED IT MedView Project in Geelong, Victoria
  • Brisbane South General Practice Division
  • Mater Misericordiae Health Services in Brisbane
  • St Vincent’s and Mater Health in Sydney
  • Greater Western Sydney e-Health Consortium (NSW Health)
  • Northern Territory Department of Health and Families
  • Tasmanian North West Area Health Service
  • Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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