The ABC’s World Today had an interesting interview with Ms Roxon on the e-Health plans.
Here are a few selected quotes.
Patient records go online
Melinda Howells reported this story on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:14:00
ASHLEY HALL: The Budget allocates almost half a billion dollars over two years for a new system of electronic health records.
Patients will be able to read the information online as will doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, and allied health workers.
Privacy is an obvious concern, but the Government says patients will be in control of their own information.
Doctors say what's been announced is still a long way from what's needed.
Melinda Howells reports.
MELINDA HOWELLS: Last night's Budget allocated almost half a billion dollars over two years to develop the new system. It aims to reduce medication mistakes, cut down on duplication, and give patients access to their own health records.
The Health Minister Nicola Roxon says participation is optional.
NICOLA ROXON: The new investment of $466 million allows us to build the system so that patients will importantly be able to access their own health information. The easiest way to think about is like the sort of banking you do online. You can access your statements and your details. The Commonwealth will not be holding the data. We will be building the parts of the system that link a doctor's records with a pharmacist's records, with a hospital discharge and it will be up to the patient to decide who can access that information and when.
MELINDA HOWELLS: The project is still in the planning stages, but Ms Roxon says privacy concerns have been addressed in the design of the system. She says the Government won't be storing the patient information.
NICOLA ROXON: Well, I think that is one of the big issues that is addressed by the Commonwealth not being the data warehouse, if you like, of this information. We'll in fact be holding and funding the links to the system each individual doctor or pharmacist or hospital service provider will retain information about an individual patient. But the convenience and protection this will give to patients is that you won't have to hunt around and make hundreds of calls to find out when you last had a vaccination.
MELINDA HOWELLS: Doctor Andrew Pesce says what's being proposed is only the first step down the road to a comprehensive national system of electronic health records, which is as useful to clinicians as it is to patients.
ANDREW PESCE: We're still only about 10 per cent of the way down that road. I mean, it's gonna take years something as big as this isn't going to happen overnight, there are lots of systems currently in place that have to be matched up. You just think about it, I mean every hospital has its own electronic health database, general practices do, some doctors don't have computers. All of this has to be married up into a seamless electronic health record. It's going to take some time.
MELINDA HOWELLS: Nicola Roxon says half a billion dollars is a big commitment.
NICOLA ROXON: Governments of past have put off making the decision to do this and our focus will be absolutely on these stages and of course there is business plan for the stages that can come after that. This investment, however, will give the momentum to taking electronic health records that step closer to reality in Australia.
ASHLEY HALL: The Health Minister Nicola Roxon ending that report from Melinda Howells.
The full report can be found here.
One question. Does anyone know what they are actually on about and how it is going to work. I sure don’t.
I note the Australian is asking about Google and Microsoft.
Will e-health records be outsourced to Google, Microsoft?
- Karen Dearne and Fran Foo
- From: Australian IT
- May 12, 2010
opinion | OVER the past few months, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has kept mum on who exactly will run the proposed electronic health records system.
Will it be the private sector, Medicare, or some other government body? Will it be handed over to health insurers to manage? The crystal ball is still blurry, but we're hopeful Ms Roxon's office will clear the air once and for all today (if she responds to our query).
There have been murmurs in the industry for some time that the government was primed to "outsource" the administration of e-health records to commercial providers, although Ms Roxon has refused to confirm or deny the speculation.
Yesterday's federal budget added more fuel to the fire; look no further than Treasurer Wayne Swan's carefully selected delivery of the new funding regime for e-health records
Make of all this what you will!