THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
Member for Lingiari
SENATOR TRISH CROSSIN
Senator for the Northern Territory
29 March 2011
Territorians will be one of the first groups of Australians to have access to e-health records thanks to a new national health reform e-health project announced today.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians will benefit from e-health records as they will reduce the chance of medical errors and save patients from having to repeat their health history every time they visit a new doctor.
Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon announced today that the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families has been selected as one of nine new e-health lead implementation sites nationally for the Gillard Government’s $467 million national personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) project.
“E-health is one of the critical elements of the Gillard Government’s efforts to modernise our health system through national health reform,” Minister Roxon said.
“In this project, we can see a practical example of how e-health can improve heath care for Indigenous Australians.
“While this project will cover potentially one per cent of Australia’s population, it will also cover almost a quarter of the Australian landmass. This is again testament to the power of e-health in helping to overcome the tyranny of distance to provide better health care to Indigenous Australians.”
Minister for Indigenous health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon explained today’s announcement will see Territorians access a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), along with Indigenous Australians in six East Kimberley hospitals in Western Australia and in remote Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in South Australia.
“This is good news for the Territory and our neighbouring states of WA and SA and it’s exciting that Indigenous Australians will be front and centre of e-health.
“We know many Indigenous Australians are required to travel regularly to access a range of services, and now this record will follow them wherever they go. This will provide patients with continuity of care and ultimately will result in improved health outcomes for the Indigenous community,” Minister Snowdon said.
“It will also be of direct benefit to Aboriginal health services across the NT, WA and SA because it will enhance the quality of their service delivery. Improved access to health records will save time and mean health services won’t be faced with the onerous task of ringing other health services to track down paper health records.
Senator Crossin explained that the NT Department of Health and Families will work in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and General Practice Network NT to deliver the project.
“The project leaders have a proven track record on delivering innovative e-health solutions, and have enjoyed high participation rates from both doctors and patients in their past projects,” Senator Crossin said.
Minister Roxon said these projects will pilot electronic health records for a wide range of patients, including Indigenous Australians in the NT, WA and SA, chronic disease patients in Western Sydney and aged care and palliative patients 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. These nine new sites will add to our existing three lead implementation sites that are busy working to implement their program.
“Our 12 e-health lead implementation sites are aiming to have more than half a million Australians enrolled before the national launch of e-health records next year.
“Of course, it’s disappointing that Mr Abbott continues to oppose e-health and refuses to back national health reform.”
The Gillard Government is investing up to $55 million in these nine lead implementation sites as a part of its overall investment of $467 million so that patients will be able to sign up for a personally controlled electronic health records from 1 July 2012.
Details of the lead implementation sites and the National e-Health Conference Report can be downloaded from www.yourhealth.gov.au.
For all media inquiries:
Minister Roxon’s Office on 0409 945 476
Minister Snowdon’s office on 0400 045 999 (Alice Plate)
Senator Crossin’s office on 0407 619 383 (Carla Fernandes)