Western Sydney will lead Australia‟s e-health revolution with an „electronic blue book‟ on the way for mums and bubs as just one of a number of new e-health projects dedicated to the region.
In the next major step in national health reform, Western Sydney has been selected to be one of 12 e-health lead implementation sites that will see residents of Western Sydney be amongst the first Australians to register for e-health records.
Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and local Western Sydney MPs today visited the Mt Druitt Medical Centre, which will be one of many health services in Western Sydney to lead the early roll-out of e-health records.
“E-health is one of the critical elements of the Gillard Government‟s efforts to modernise our health system through national health reform,” Minister Roxon said.
“In the 21st century, Australians shouldn‟t have to worry about remembering every immunisation, every medical test, every prescription.
“Instead, Australians should be able to use an e-health record that will keep all of their critical health information in one spot, helping to provide better health care.
“It is disappointing, though, that Tony Abbott‟s health policies are still stuck in the 19th century as he stubbornly refuses to back e-health and national health reform – and has committed to slashing funding for this and other important e-health projects.
“Mr Abbott promised e-health records when he was Health Minister, but failed to deliver. And today, he continues to fail the Australian people by advocating to axe the funds for e-health records.”
Local federal members said that this new e-health project is a win for Western Sydney and builds on the prior excellent e-health work completed in the region.
“With one tenth of Australia‟s population in Western Sydney, this is a major boost for the area, particularly for those who suffer from chronic diseases and often need to see a number of health care providers,” Member for Chifley, Ed Husic MP said.
“This means that local diabetes, heart disease or asthma sufferers can sign up for an e-health record with their GP and be able to access that same record when they visit other health professionals.
“It is a win-win situation for both local patients and health professionals through the delivery of more efficient and effective care,” Mr Husic said.
“The „blue book‟ is well known in New South Wales as being a valuable resource for keeping track of your child‟s health as they grow up,” Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland MP said.
“But if that record is lost, or if your child has to be rushed to hospital and you don‟t have the record handy, parents have to rely on their memory. This will all change with the electronic blue book,” Ms Rowland said.
“The Western Sydney e-health project will also focus on providing e-health records for Indigenous Australians, older Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” David Bradbury MP, Member for Lindsay said.
“E-health records are expected to help to provide faster diagnosis, cut down on medication errors and give patients peace of mind as doctors will be able to see the patient‟s medication history,” Mr Bradbury said.
“Western Sydney has been at the forefront of e-health for some time,” Member for Parramatta Julie Owens MP said.
“This project recognises the leading work of the Sydney West Area Health Service and Westmead Children‟s Hospital and will help to transition this early work into the new national e-health records system,” Ms Owens said.
Mt Druitt GP Dr Kean Seng Lim, who is also a clinical leader for e-health nationally, said that General Practice is where 90% of healthcare is provided.
“I believe that a well implemented electronic health record system has the potential to significantly improve patient health care by bridging the gaps in the current health system. This has the potential to be a milestone in the delivery of health care in Australia,” said Dr Lim.
“As a general practitioner, initiatives such as this, and the primary care infrastructure grant enhance our ability to provide better care for our patients.”
The Mt Druitt clinic is one of 240 clinics around Australia to benefit from a primary care infrastructure grant that helps to fund expansions to local GP clinics. These grants are part of the Gillard Government‟s investments in improving primary care, so that more Australians can see a doctor closer to home.
The Western Sydney e-health project joins St Vincent‟s Hospital and Mater Health Sydney as the two NSW-based e-health lead implementation sites. The Gillard Government is investing up to $70 million in 12 lead implementation sites nationwide as a part of its overall investment of $467 million so that patients will be able to sign up for a personally controlled electronic health records from 1 July 2012.
Details of the lead implementation sites can be downloaded from www.yourhealth.gov.au.