The Federal Government will invest $10 million in an eHealth initiative which will enable people to provide information on the health care they wish to receive at the end of their life.
The Advance Care Directives will be stored on the controversial Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system.
The Federal Government will also provide a further $800,000 over two years for the Respecting Patient Choices care planning project.
Users’ end of life plans will be able to be viewed by nominated doctors, hospitals, family members or carers.
“[If] an elderly man from the Gold Coast is admitted to a hospital while visiting his family in Melbourne, his treating doctors and nurses would have access to information about his end of life care wishes,” Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Health, said in a statement.
“That could include information about any treatments he does or does not want under particular circumstances.”
Plibersek said around 110,000 people a year need end of life care.
Bill Silvester, president of the International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care, who will lead the Respecting Patient Choices project, said putting care directives online puts the patient at the “centre” of their health care.
“It ensures that the patient stays front and centre and maintains control of what will be happening to them when they can no longer speak for themselves,” Silvester said.
The opt-in PCEHR system has been plagued with problems and criticism.
The system was launched in July last year and allows patient records to be accessed online and shared between healthcare organisations.
Shortly after the system was launched, Queensland Senator Sue Boyce said the system was " faulty" and a waste of money due to problems with the hotline.
The system has also been marred by privacy concerns, with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) announcing in July last year that it would regulate against privacy breaches.
The system sits within the the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 and the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Regulation 2012 legislation.
The OAIC will investigate e-health complaints and also conduct own motion investigations. For consumers who make complaints to the OAIC, the privacy commissioner is able to seek civil penalties and accept enforceable undertakings from healthcare providers.
Mandatory data breach notification will also be introduced for the PCEHR Act for systems operators, repository operations and portal operators.
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