Tasmania puts $150m towards digital health upgrades

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Tasmania puts $150m towards digital health upgrades

Plans new statewide e-health record for patients.

The Tasmanian government has set aside $150 million in its 2022-23 budget to modernise the state’s public health IT infrastructure, including through a single electronic medical record.

The funding, to be provided over the next four years, will allow the Department of Health to commence a 10-year digital health transformation program set out in a new digital health strategy.

As much as $475 million is expected to be allocated to the project over its lifetime to “drive further adoption of digital health technology to improve patient, clinician and support staff experiences”.

“Digital health will allow for increased care to be provided at home and across Tasmania’s geographically dispersed population,” budget documents state.

“It will deliver a fully integrated patient-centric healthcare system that will seamlessly share critical health information across critical and organisational boundaries.”

Health minister Jeremy Rockliff said the initial $150 million funding – $40 million of which is existing funding – would be used to procure and trial a new centralised electronic medical record system.

The first ‘horizon’ [pdf] will also see a new integrated electronic patient care record at Ambulance Tasmania and a statewide “patient record viewer that connects all public and private health and care providers”.

Upgrades to existing virtual care technologies, including telehealth, to “enable more patients to receive care in their home or in their community” and advanced data analytics capabilities are also on the cards.

“This digital transformation will deliver a range of benefits for patients, including access to convenient healthcare in local communities, improved communications about appointments, reduced waiting time for services, and less duplication of care and forms,” Rockliff said.

“It will also prevent unnecessary hospital visits, helping to keep people out of hospital when they don’t need to be there.

“Importantly, upgrading our digital technologies will benefit our health professionals by providing them with the right data, in the right place, at the right time to enable them to make the best decisions on patient care.”

Elsewhere in the budget, the government has provided a further $12.2 million to replace the Department of Education’s ageing student and school administration systems.

The funding, which falls under phase two of the “student systems renewal” project, will go towards a new case management platform.

The Department of Justice will, meanwhile, receive $8.7 million over four years to “invest and uplift ICT systems, technology, service capability and governance”.

A further $6.2 million will go towards replacing the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management’s automatic vehicle locations systems, which will reach end of life when Telstra closes its 3G network.

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