[LINK] Governments change direction on health e-records
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Oct 13 09:30:05 AEDT 2009
Governments change direction on health e-records
October 13, 2009
GOOGLE, Microsoft and other new providers will host Australians'
electronic health records as the federal and state governments back away
from funding a nationwide scheme.
National E-Health Transition Authority chief executive Peter Fleming
said the original vision of a single e-health record system had been
abandoned in favour of "person-controlled" records that could be adopted
The Council of Australian Governments is yet to make a decision on the
business case for individual e-health records put to it by NEHTA a year
ago, but Mr Fleming said the health ministers were pushing the
organisation to take "a far more commercial approach".
"Five years ago, there was a strong view that there would be an e-health
record for all Australians held on a massive database somewhere," he
told the Medical Software Industry Association conference in Sydney last
week. "That's no longer the view.
"When and if the e-health record is approved, we'll enter into detailed
planning around the architecture, but undoubtedly people will have an
option to choose health records from a range of sources and their
medical information will be stored in a number of locations."
Mr Fleming said the foundation work on healthcare identifiers, secure
messaging and other technical standards would support a rollout of
personal health records by 2012, although a new indexing service would
be needed to bring disparate files together at the point of care.
To cater for emergency situations, a health summary containing key
medication and allergy data could be linked to the index. "Certainly
there needs to be a viable financial model for the private sector, in
terms of margins or incentives, but I would see those things occurring,"
Mr Fleming said.
"One of our directions now is how we engage the private sector and move
these things forward."
NEHTA has released to public discussion its strategic plan for the next
three years to 2012.
Mr Fleming said Medicare would complete its construction of the Unique
Healthcare Identifier service, which will assign and manage identity
numbers for patients, medical providers and healthcare venues in December.
The system could not, however, be launched until new legislation
amending the federal Privacy Act was passed by parliament, he said.
Meanwhile, software vendors will have access to a model environment
running dummy data for testing purposes. While the use of patient
identifiers may be optional initially, Mr Fleming said, over time "we
expect this to become ubiquitous".
Meanwhile, the Australian Privacy Foundation has slammed NEHTA for
shutting consumers out of the e-health consultation process.
APF health spokeswoman Juanita Fernando said the strategic plan
positioned consumers as "targets" for public marketing campaigns --
rather than as key participants in the development process -- despite
NEHTA's "assertions" of inclusion.
"Why does the bulk of NEHTA's plan focus on stakeholders rather than
consumers?" she said. "Why does NEHTA so tightly control feedback that
ordinary consumers are not invited to attend various consultations?"
brd at iimetro.com.au
More information about the Link