DSTC signs $2.9m e-health records deal

The Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC) has signed a $2.9m contract with the federal Department of Health and Ageing to develop software for Australia’s planned system of shared electronic health records, HealthConnect.

The project, carried out in partnership with the General Practice Computing Group and Queensland Health, marks the second phase of a two-year endeavour to develop a national electronic health record (EHR) software solution based on an open systems approach, with DSTC completing the initial analysis and design phase in March 2003.

The latest HealthConnect trial, which aims to provide improved support for consumers with diabetes in Brisbane's southern suburbs, will test the value, technical feasibility and sustainability of an electronic health record.

The trial is jointly funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, General Practice Computing Group (GPCG) and Queensland Health, and initially aims to recruit about 1000 consumers who visit participating clinics in the Brisbane South area.

It focuses on testing the HealthConnect business architecture called openEHR as an approach which has the potential to change the way in which health records are created, stored, managed and communicated.

This is the first major implementation of the open standards approach in a production grade systems environment anywhere in the world.

DSTC CEO Mark Gibson anticipates that this sort of system will be deployed throughout Australia’s healthcare system because of the improved health care delivery it offers.

“There is also the potential for DSTC to commercialise some of the intellectual property we are developing. Countries such as the US and UK are now exploring the open standards approach to electronic health records making our Australian technology a prime candidate for vast export potential,” Gibson said.

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