DTO closer to nixing six-page Medicare form for newborns

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DTO closer to nixing six-page Medicare form for newborns

Automatic info exchange halves processing time.

The Digital Transformation Office and Department of Human Services are one step closer to killing off a six-page paper form new parents must fill out before they leave hospital to enrol their babies into Medicare.

The pair yesterday completed a five-month trial of an automated information exchange between the Gold Coast University Hospital’s patient systems and the Department of Human Services.

The trial saw the details of 786 children loaded straight into the Medicare database, the Medicare Safety Net, and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

The exercise will become the model for a proposed national rollout of the system, which bypasses a lengthy paper form which must be signed by a doctor or midwife and then lodged in hardcopy to a Centrelink or Medicare shopfront.

“Not only has the trial made it more convenient for parents, it has seen the average time to enrol a baby drop from 35 days to six," Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said in a statement.

“This is about trying to make people’s interaction with government as simple and convenient as possible at every step.”

The scheme, which has passed the DTO’s digital service standard test to move into beta phase, represents one of the new agency’s first tangible wins following some criticism for its slow take-off.

All of the participating mothers who filled out the paper form for a previous child said they preferred the automatic method, according to DHS, which reported that the new process in many cases cut down the time to enrol a new baby into Medicare by 50 percent.

The team behind the trial will now tackle how the security protocols governing the Gold Coast data exchange could be standardised and scaled to other Australian hospitals.

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