Medicare Locals' e-health system receives $50m funding

The government has announced $50m in funding to help doctors and healthcare providers get on board the e-health records system

The Medicare Locals network has received $50 million in funding over two years to help general practitioners and healthcare providers use the e-health record system.

The funding is part of the government’s rollout of the e-health records system and is in addition to $233.7 million announced in the 2012-13 Budget.

Read more e-health news on Computerworld Australia.

“e-health records will ensure doctors can access a patient’s medical information in one convenient online location, reducing errors and making diagnosis and treatment quicker and easier,” said Tanya Plibersek, health minister.

“The practical training will include how to get the practice ready for the e-health record including how to achieve data quality, the registration process for eHealth records, engagement and support of the practice’s patients,” Plibersek said.

“To assist providers link up to the system, Medicare Locals also will work with other health care providers – allied health, nursing, and community based specialists – as well as with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, non-government organisations, professional associations and hospitals.”

A total of 38 Medicare Locals were announced in November 2011, in addition to 19 Medicare Locals which were already under operation.

The public will be able to register an eHealth account from 1 July this year.

However, late last week Plibersek admitted the take up of electronic health records will likely be slow in the first few years after their national launch.

Patients can register to have an e-health record from July, however, doctors have long argued the opt-in system could prove problematic.

"There are only so many times doctors are going to stop and look to see if their patient has opted in and given them access to their personally-controlled electronic health record (PCEHR)," Australian Medical Association (AMA) president, Steve Hambleton, said on Wednesday.

"If doctors were to find most of their patients had a PCEHR they would be more likely to keep using the system."

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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