Page 1978 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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and these initiatives are a significant commitment to meeting these challenges. The e-healthy future package delivers on a key 2008 election commitment and has four main elements. The first element is personal electronic health records, which will ensure that accurate and trusted personal health information is made available to the right person at the right time to enable informed care and treatment decisions, which is better for patients and consumers as well as health professionals and providers.

The second element is digital hospital and healthcare infrastructure. The ACT government’s commitment to a $1 billion rebuild of our health system requires new generation digital infrastructure. This will require a medical-grade secure network to enable safe, timely and reliable exchange of sensitive clinical information by health professionals and provider organisations.

Further to this, remote diagnostic and treatment services to enable care to move seamlessly outside the hospital and clinic environment and into patients’ homes will be achieved through common clinical applications and high availability ICT infrastructure. Decision support will guide the highly skilled work undertaken by our frontline health workers—doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. This will include electronic medication management—also known as EMM—to ensure safe, accurate and timely prescribing and administration of medication and online access to clinical protocols, guidelines and new medical research.

The fourth element of our e-health package is support services. Support services are the essential infrastructure components of e-health that make decision support, personal electronic health records and the digital environment possible. An e-healthy future will enable patients to be placed at the very centre of the healthcare system and also provide valuable support to general practitioners through the electronic sharing of patient clinical information between the hospital and the GP to improve patient safety.

This considerable investment by the ACT government in e-health capacity will also provide patients with a much greater say in how their personal health information can be used to improve access to health care, reduce wasted time associated with current multiple disconnected paper-based systems and, above all, improve the safety and quality of health care.

It will also ensure that our service delivery is safer, timelier and more efficient. In addition to our e-health package, $51 million is provided for the forward design and construction of a new enhanced community health centre at Belconnen. This centre will provide traditional community health services such as dental, community nursing and community mental health. It will also provide an expanded range of higher order clinical services previously provided on hospital grounds, such as renal dialysis, some specialist outpatient services and chronic disease management.

Our ACT-wide public health rebuild plan proposed two community health centres for the territory, one in the north and one in the south. This initiative provides funding for the Belconnen one as a matter of priority to begin the process of establishing an alternative site for a number of hospital-based services and to increase access to those services for north Canberra residents.

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