NSW to consider opening ehealth records to patients

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NSW to consider opening ehealth records to patients

As part of system upgrade proposal.

NSW Health has begun considering what the state's future electronic medical record might look like, including whether to give patients access to their clinical information.

Last week the department's digital arm eHealth NSW approached the market to inform its plan to develop a single digital patient record (SDPR).

The SDPR is pitched as “a holistic, state-wide view of a patient’s health care information” that will “support safe, high quality healthcare for patients”.

The project is expected to build on the state’s existing electronic medical record (eMR2), which is currently found in more than 90 percent of public hospitals.

Last year eHealth NSW's chief information officer Zoran Bolevich said more than 50,000 clinicians were using the EMR everyday as part of their work.

But NSW Health is planning to shift to an increasingly integrated and digitally-enabled healthcare system over the next nine years, according to Bolevich.

It follows a $500 million funding injection in digital patient records and a system-wide digital platform in the state’s 2017 budget.

A spokesperson for eHealth NSW told iTnews the SDPR initiative would “enhance” and “harmonise” the existing ehealth record to provide greater consistency across public hospitals.

Benefits such as improved data analytics and clinical decision support, greater ease of integrated with private healthcare providers and a more consistent IT user experience are expected to flow from the project.

There is also the possibility that the initiative will give patients the ability to access and interact with their NSW ehealth record much like they would with the national My Health Record.

The spokesperson said the request for information would “explore” the third horizon of the state’s 10-year e-health strategy – which aims to increasingly personalise healthcare – by considering “options for consumer engagement such as patient portals”.

The RFI is calling for “solutions, services and experiences that industry and key stakeholders can provide to support the initiative”.

“This is expected to include key products, services, approaches, costs, options and lessons learnt from previous experiences,” the spokesperson said.

eHealth NSW said the RFI will inform future directions and enhancement priorities including “any future business case development”.

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