Page 3700 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 26 August 2009

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The trip gave me the opportunity to visit and meet the leaders of these health systems and to catch up with the Danish minister for health for whom I hosted a lunch here in Canberra back in 2008. While in Denmark I also met with the Director General of the Ministry for Health and the chief executives and chief information officers of three key government agencies responsible for the Danes’ e-health strategies. They are: Sundhed DK, which is the official Danish e-health portal for the Danish public healthcare service, and the word “sundhed” means health in Danish; Medcom, a prescribing system established back in 1992 which now allows 97 per cent of primary healthcare providers to e-prescribe through Denmark; and Digital Health Denmark, which provides the framework for the computerisation of the Danish healthcare sector. The goal is to create a coordinated health services record where doctors, practitioners and citizens all have access to necessary health data.

While our two systems are different, these high level discussions with the Danes confirmed that our e-health strategy and our investment in the program are well targeted, well timed and really essential for the future of Australia’s healthcare system.

I had the opportunity to visit a large regional university hospital in Aarhus in Denmark. This health service is currently in the final planning stages of a $2.6 billion health facility redevelopment. This service will adopt a similar approach to integration of technology and patient-focused design as occurred at Akershus and St Olavs in Norway. The ACT is adopting a similar development pathway, and we will work closely with our Danish and Norwegian colleagues in this endeavour.

I was also invited to meet with the Chief Executive, the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific, of ISS, the world’s largest healthcare support and logistics company. ISS is a Danish-based company and is the fifth largest corporation in the world. I was briefed on future directions in health facility support, design and planning from the world’s number one provider of such services. ISS has recently taken over the contract at Canberra Hospital for the provision of cleaning services, so the opportunity to meet with them was very well timed.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Burch, a supplementary question?

MS BURCH: Yes, indeed. Minister, how will this information now be incorporated into the “your health, our priority” billion-dollar rebuild of the ACT health system?

Ms GALLAGHER: Over the course of this five-day study tour, I was exposed to literally the best health facilities that exist in the world. The world’s leading nations in e-health have established and built on the professional collegial and technical networks needed to assist us here in Canberra in our own program that will span the next 10 years. Some of the technologies we saw included the electronic medication management, known as EMM, and members will note that this is a key part of our own e-health package. In Akershus in Oslo, Norway, I saw first hand a fully automated robotically dispensed medication system in play. The benefits of such a system are twofold, and it reduces the risk of errors in the chain of production from prescribing right through to the dispensing of medication to the patients at the bedside. International studies of risk to patient safety identify medication errors as the single

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