Electronic health records

The Department Of Health and Ageing has just conducted a conference in Melbourne on electronic health.

One of the focuses of the conference was electronic health records.

This subject will undoubtedly dominate the health landscape over the next few years.

Put simply, it involves the gathering of an individual’s health records from whatever source they originated, and putting them into, or making them available to, a centralised electronic system. A medical practitioner would then be able to access this information from anywhere (with your consent).

So, if you travel to Queensland for a holiday, your doctor there, a doctor you may be seeing for the first time, will have (electronic) access to all of your medical records. This will presumably include details of the appointment you had with your local doctor last week, with details of the prescription you may have been given but have forgotten to take with you.

No doubt such a system will take significant advantage of the National Broadband Network.

The Department is pouring half $1 billion into this project, and hopes to have at least part of the system up and running by mid-2012 (this might be a bit optimistic for what must be a very complex enterprise).

This promises to revolutionise health care in Australia, and we will be watching it with great interest.

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