DoHA grants $55 million to second health record trial sites

The new sites will join the first three selected sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) has issued a further $55 million in grants to introduce further trial sites for the implementation of personal e-health records.

The new e-health sites will join the first three trial sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and will be among the first to send hospital discharge summaries electronically to GPs and referrals using national specifications.

The funding forms part of the $466.7 million investment announced in the 2010/2011 Federal Budget to be spent over two years for the development of voluntary, personally controlled e-health records from 1 July 2012.

“These sites will help lead the way for future planning of a secure, reliable e-health system, improving technology and identifying what works well and what could work better,” Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, said in a statement.

The new grant will be offered to applicants including private and public health practices as well as general practice.

Successful applicants will create a site to improve the flow of information within the patient community, with priority needs to mothers with newborns, those with complex or chronic diseases, the elderly and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The site will comply with national e-health standards and services including the Healthcare Identifier Service and support the exchange of information across different parts of the health sector. It will also have national demographic coverage and demonstrate clinical governance.

Funding will be provided to the successful organisations to work with the department and the National e-health Transition Authority (NEHTA) in developing an implementation plan of the site. If accepted, additional funding will be given for the implementation and delivery of the site.

“Currently 190,000 hospital admissions a year are caused by medication errors, and eight per cent of these are caused by inadequate patient information,” Roxon said. “E-health can improve patient care and save time for patients and doctors by reducing extra or repeat tests that don’t need to be done.”

Tender applications close on 23 December this year.

In related news, NEHTA recently called for submissions from clinical desktop software suppliers wanting to support the e-health sites across Australia.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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