Govt refers Healthcare Identifiers Bill to Senate Standing Committee

Greater input on individual healthcare indentifiers (IHI) sought

The Federal Government has referred its the Healthcare Identifiers Bill to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs in an effort to gain greater input on the legislation from the Australian community.

The Bill allows for a unique 16 digit number to be created for every health care provider and every Australian resident enrolled in the Medicare Australia or Department of Veterans' Affairs programs.

The Bill is also required to authorise the use of existing Medicare Australia infrastructure, set out appropriate and transparent governance arrangements, and set out the permitted uses of healthcare identifiers by the healthcare community.

According to the Federal Government, individual healthcare indentifiers (IHI) argue that the number provides a way for healthcare providers to more accurately match the right records to the person and improve accuracy when communicating information with other healthcare providers

“Without healthcare identifiers there cannot be an integrated, consistent, e-health system in Australia,” a statement from Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon reads.

“The committee is now seeking written submissions from interested individuals and organisations.”

The Government has also released a new e-health report, Report of the Review of Health Technology Assessment in Australia, which includes 16 recommendations to reduce the cost involved with assessing new medical technologies and procedures for use in Australia.

The Government will begin implementing 13 of these recommendations, according to Roxon.

“A more transparent, efficient and coordinated system of approving new health products, procedures and services is an important step in reforming our health system,” Roxon said in a statement.

“These reforms mean patients will have faster access to the latest safe and effective treatments, products and technology, and industry will have reduced costs in getting their products to market.

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