Healthcare informatics will play a key role in delivering integrated patient care — with the Australian Government planning to use this platform to manage and share data across the healthcare system.
In future, healthcare agencies and service delivery providers will increasingly use informatics to collect, analyse, and move data across different jurisdictions, according to Dr Michael Bainbridge, programme clinical lead, National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
Dr Bainbridge, also adjunct professor, clinical informatics, University of British Columbia, was speaking at the industry’s peak Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2012) in Sydney.
He said paper-based record-keeping is seen as “public enemy number one.” This regime is being replaced by informatics and electronic records to deliver modernised healthcare.
Informatics offers a “cradle-to-grave” snapshot of patients, at the same time, supporting evidence-based policy and funding reforms for peak agencies like NEHTA.
NEHTA is driving the Australian Government’s high-profile US$233.7 million (AUD$233.7 million) Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) programme.
The three-year programme will deliver fully integrated e-health services nationally, while making better use of e-health data across agencies, hospitals, clinics and healthcare centres.
Informatics offers a cost-effective platform to acquire, store, retrieve and use health and biomedicine information, noted Dr Bainbridge.
He said nearly two terabytes of data is pumped out each day, per patient, at emergency wards. This data can reside in different places, in varied formats, while relying on sometimes incompatible technology.
“With informatics, we’re on a better trajectory to managing patient care. Patients are also taking ownership of their own data and medical records.“
Dr Bainbridge said a paternalist model of healthcare has shifted. This is being replaced by more precise and personalised information-exchange. “We’re moving past incomprehensible medical forms toward empowering patients.”
Health informatics helps integrate all episodes of care, while improving productivity across the system, according to Mike Woods, deputy chair, Productivity Commission (Australian Government).
Informatics offers cost-effective tools to empower consumers and care-givers, he said.
This platform supports a cohesive and connected information base. It also improves operational performance, while helping medical staff evaluate, cost and forecast activities.
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