NSW govt to finish e-health records rollout within four years

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NSW govt to finish e-health records rollout within four years
Jillian Skinner.

Mobile, data analytics focus in 10-year strategy document.

The NSW state government has committed to completing the rollout of electronic medical records within the next four years as part of its latest e-health policy. 

The e-health strategy for NSW Health 2016-2026 [pdf] was released by state Health Minister Jillian Skinner at the CeBIT conference in Sydney this morning. 

The core of the strategy is "maturing" NSW Health's core digital systems to create a consistent IT environment over the next four years. 

This includes completing the rollout of electronic medical records, which are currently implemented in 35 percent of facilities, across the state within the next four years. 

While just 29 percent of health facilities are currently connected to the Health wide area network (HWAN), the policy committs to all local health districts being connected within the next three years. 

The ongoing consolidation of NSW Health data centres is also scheduled for completion by late 2019.

"We continue to build a secure statewide broadband network – the NBN of health – which currently connects 150 health centres and hospitals across NSW, including those in rural and remote locations," Skinner said. 

"This enables our clinical and health systems to be used in hospitals across the state and in ambulatory care." 

Based on this IT foundation, the policy looks to introduce increased integration between NSW health facilities over the next seven years, with a progressive shift to more personalised and preventative health care over the next decade. 

The policy commits to health workers having access to core systems from mobile devices, as well as electronic medical records becoming available on mobile devices. A statewide health analytics framework is also scheduled to be released later this year.

"Clinical analytics is a really important area and eHealth NSW is collaborating with our clinical excellence commission ... on a project giving clinicians the information they need to analyse their practices so they can deliver high-quality care," Skinner said.

"The joint project will set up a capability for clinical analytics, a rapidly developing field that harnesses real-time medical data to generate fact-based diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, to guide work practices, improve clinical outcomes, and ideally, cut costs."

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