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Healthcare IT, Information Management, Mobile Government

Australia expands e-Health record programme

The Australian Government is expanding the national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system to include pathology and diagnostic imaging results in patients’ eHealth records.

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Information such as blood test and x-ray results will be stored securely online as part of the patient’s PCEHR once the functionality is launched in early 2014.

The federal government of Australia is investing AU$8 million (US$7.3 million) into the expansion of the PCEHR system. This investment also includes funding for the planning and design work associated with upgrading the medical software used by doctors to allow uploading and downloading of test results at a single click.

“We expect both doctors and patients will find the new functionality useful, as it will reduce the need for them to chase down results or duplicate tests”, said Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Health. “In an emergency, having this kind of information on a patient’s eHealth record could save lives”.

The development of this functionality will pave the way to storing actual images generated during x-ray and MRI scans on the PCEHR later.

Managed by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), the PCEHR was launched in July 2012, and currently has 520,000 patients on board. The eHealth record stores information such as a summary of the patient’s medical history, list of medications prescribed, allergy information, and immunisation records.

Smartphone app

Last month, NEHTA launched its first mobile application. The app, called ‘My Child’s eHealth Record’, allows parents and authorised representatives to access the child’s eHealth record, and view or add information about the child’s development.

The app allows parents or guardians to add and monitor information such as immunisations, height, weight, and development milestones of their children under the age of 14. “This app will mean that parents can have vital information about their children’s health, like their immunisation status, at their fingertips all of the time”, said Plibersek.

Parents must register their children for an eHealth record through the national programme’s website to use this app. The app is available for free for iOS and Android-based devices.

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