The WA government has set aside just over $8 million for the planning stage of the state’s proposed electronic medical records system.
Health Minister Roger Cook announced the funding - contained in the $5.5 billion WA recovery package - late on Friday, as the state looks to simulate the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
A state-wide EMR was first recommended in the government’s sustainable health review interim report in 2018 to ensure better access to patient records.
The review's final report, released last year, urged WA Health to introduce such a system by July 2029.
But the department is currently planning to begin implementing an EMR before the end of 2022, and has already started looking at options to gain an understanding of the current market.
The EMR is expected to provide a single source of truth for information through a digital platform that supports patients throughout their journey through the state's public health system.
Once completed, the system will allow clinicians to view patient notes, clinical assessments and summaries, medical histories and diagnostic test results.
This will avoid the need for medical records to be transferred between clinicians, the government said, while also improving “safety, efficiency and patient experience”.
Cook said a state-wide EMR would ensure information is “available across the full continuum of care - not only promoting safety and quality but also saving lives”.
"It is wonderful to see the advancements being made in health as we progress on our digital journey, and planning for an EMR system is a key component of this,” he said.
WA Health is expected to use the EMR as the foundation for a number of patient-centric improvements to the health system over the next decade.
The state’s digital health strategy, released last year, laid out plans for a widespread overhaul of its clinical and corporate IT systems using interoperable systems, big data, AI and data analytics.