Australia leading world in health records

Australia leading world in health records

Australia is emerging as a world leader in sharing health records through the hospital system after recently announcing plans to expand its data management experiment to state-wide implementations in Tasmania and South Australia soon and attracting keen interest from Europe and the US.

Australia's planned national electronic network, HealthConnect is expected to save lives and up to AUS$1 billion in waste and duplication of paper work.

The Co-operative Research Centre for Enterprise Distributed Systems Technology is poised to become the backbone behind this service.

The main aim of the this project is to unite islands of incompatible information that make it difficult for doctors, specialists and healthcare workers to easily find the information that they need via Web-based technology.

Estimates have revealed that inadequate records play a part in up to 10,000 Australian deaths each year.

The technology developed by DSTC is based on a publicly available electronic health record architecture (EHD), openEHR, which will give health centres and specialists rapid access to clinical records.

Mark Gibson, the DSTC CEO, said: "Healthcare is the largest information industry in the world. In the US 30 percent and in Europe 40 percent of health budgets are spent on the management of information. However the industry has been traditionally slow in the uptake of IT, spending substantially less than other industries.

"DSTC specialises in developing IT systems that allow different enterprises to communicate and share information with one another, even when it has been collected and stored in incompatible ways.

"Since 2000 we have been developing a new way to share disparate health records that is efficient, accessible, medically sound, confidential and adapts to the changing need of the healthcare system."

The openEHR technology has attracted interest from around the world, especially Europe and the United States, whose medical records seem to be more muddled than Australia's.

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