The Government’s $466.7 million e-Health investment has begun in Brisbane, Melbourne and the Hunter Valley (NSW). The pilot sites are set to get $12.5m over two years to trial the technology and practices.
According to a statement released by Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, patients will get access to their information and control what goes onto their records. She said the sites were picked because of their existing support of e-health systems.
“In addition to e-Health records, these three sites will use health care identifiers for patients, providers and hospitals, and will be the first to electronically send discharge summaries and referrals using national specifications,” the statement said.
GPpartners in QLD, GP Access in NSW and Melbourne East GP Network in Victoria have been picked as Australia’s first locations. The relevant state governments have pledged resources to help the effort, with NSW and QLD committing $1.2m worth of support each.
The program’s start comes just one day after Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced $392.3m at her party’s launch to boost online health services through GPs and Medicare.
The Labor party is selling e-health as one of the key benefits of its National Broadband Network. But the Coalition has accused the Prime Minister of announcing funds for initiatives that already exist.
“We already have under the existing Medicare health system remote consultations, so much of what she [Prime Minister, Julia Gillard] talked about today in fact already exists,” Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, said.
The Coalition has pledged to scrap the Government’s e-health policies and replace the NBN with a cheaper $6 billion alternative.