AUSTRALIA SPENDS ABOUT $80 BILLION A YEAR ON HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES. If this sounds like a lot then you are right! This spending equates to nearly 10% of Australia’s entire gross domestic product.
In an effort to find efficiency gains, the Australian Government has committed $466.7 million to establish the key components of a personally controlled electronic health record system.
eHealth is now generally understood as a broad range of information and communication technologies like broadband connectivity, digital networking or smart software to help drive improvements in health and medical care for individuals and communities.
ONE OF THE KEY GOALS IS TO DIGITISE RECORDS , which obviously represents a major transformational change. It will require significant financial investment, careful planning and design, detailed project management, extensive consultation and more than likely a considerable amount of trial and error.
Electronic patient records must be legible, accurate, up to date, and easily accessible in order to provide relevant patient information at the point of care. The use of ICT systems to manage clinical patient information has the potential to reduce the risk of medication error and to avoid patients being subjected to unnecessary or duplicated medical tests or interventions.
To date NSW Health has been applying technology to underpin changes across three core areas of activity – clinical care, corporate services and infrastructure.
Similarly, Queensland Health’s eHealth Program is connecting healthcare services across Queensland and leading the country in a number of areas including radiology, discharge summaries and telehealth. The program has seen benefit delivered in areas including anesthetics, breast screening, endoscopy, patient discharge, mental health, oral health, radiology and patient referrals.
MOVING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO THE PAPERLESS AND MORE EFFICIENT FUNCIONLITY is not an overnight process. And with many in the sector reluctant to change and many more concerned about privacy concerns surrounding the digital approach, the big question remains; how can investment dollars be best allocated and who will champion these efforts within each hospital.
Like all new initiatives in health, clinicians buy in absolutely paramount. If this doesn’t occur, it is virtually impossible to get anything of the ground and a virtual certainty that eHealth efforts will fail.
Looking at the role of clinicians in selecting ICT solutions and indeed a push toward eHealth initiatives, Criterion is hosting the ICT Implementation for Health Efficiency conference in Melbourne this November.
Filled with case studies around ICT selection, interoperability, clinician buy-in and adapting to local hospital needs, this event will be a great opportunity to digger deeper into this important issue.