eHealth move will improve coordinated care: PSA

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The PSA has welcomed the Government’s move to encourage more Australians to use eHealth records to improve coordinated healthcare.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley today launched a new program for electronic health records to be trailed by more than one million Australians in Western Sydney and North Queensland.

Under the trial, patients can share health information securely online with authorised healthcare providers, including pharmacists.

My Health Record will give both patients and health professionals immediate access to all of their necessary health information online to improve co-ordinated care outcomes, reduce duplication and provide vital information in emergency situations, says the Minister.

PSA National President Joe Demarte says more patients need to embrace electronic health and innovation to ensure health professionals can deliver better integrated care.

“As the most accessible of health professionals, pharmacists are an important resource that can and should be used to inform consumers about eHealth records with a view to ensuring this important health resource is fully utilised,” Demarte says.

“We encourage more people to access eHealth to ensure consistency of treatment and better health outcomes for consumers regardless of where they seek treatment in Australia.”

In its pre-Budget 2016-17 submission, the PSA recommended that the Government urgently considers a national real-time recording and reporting system to reduce harms associated with poor coordination of care and inappropriate prescribing of medicines.

“The PSA believes this should be a high priority for the Government to implement a real-time recording and reporting system that captures all prescribing, dispensing and supply of prescription and over-the-counter drugs of dependence,” Demarte says.

“We urge the Government to allocate funds to assist States and Territories to fully implement a national real-time recording and reporting system as a matter of urgency.”

The Minister blames the failure of the Labor national electronic health records system to its opt-in, rather than opt-out, nature, which she says led to less than one in 10 Australians signing up.

She also says the Turnbull Government has particularly focussed on protecting patient privacy, passing supporting legislation mandating fines of up to half a million dollars and jail sentences for anyone who tries to deliberately misuse or access information in the health record.

“It’s important Australians are able to have access to their medical records and safely and securely share them with health professionals no matter where they are in the country if we are to truly improve clinical outcomes and efficiency,” Ms Ley says.


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