Solutions and services provider, CSC has welcomed the Federal Government's Budget announcement regarding health and technology.
CSC general manager for global healthcare, Lisa Pettigrew, said, in a statement, that CSC, In particular, applauded the ongoing investment in the NBN which was crucial to Australia's future in the digital economy and underpinned the future of eHealth for Australian consumers.
"We are also pleased at the investments being planned for DisabilityCare and the bi-partisan support for the DisabilityCare conceptual proposals," she said.
Pettigrew said that, as expected, there were no major changes around funding for eHealth; primarily as the major funding allocations were over the last two years towards the Government's PCEHR program.
CSC continued to support the PCEHR program as a worthy concept helpful, in the long run, to both consumers, carers and clinicians. To enhance take-up and usage of the PCEHR, we encourage the government to improve the online accessibility for the PCEHR.
Pettigrew said, "Specifically, we would encourage the government to incent healthcare providers, health insurers and other organisations involved in day to day interactions with health consumers to create easier online access for consumers to the PCEHR so they can more easily register themselves and nominate their access and consent preferences".
She identified three top healthcare priorities, leading into the election period, and, rrespective which party is elected, were key for any incoming Australian government:
1. Cyber Confidence in Healthcare
"A key priority for healthcare must be looking at the security of critical healthcare infrastructure of national significance. Healthcare systems that underpin hospitals, clinicians and the availability of drugs and therapies must be protected against local and international cyber attacks. As the world faces increasingly brazen security attacks on technology assets, the healthcare sector is particularly vulnerable. The healthcare sector has a deep understanding of privacy yet the new threats to the core basis of security of data pose a new set of risks with which many of our clinical leaders may be unfamiliar. National government leadership must set the standard for protections against cyber attacks at a local and national level," CSC stated.
2. Telehealth "As the nature of disease changes with the rapid increase of chronic diseases which are diagnosed earlier, we are living with these ailments for many years. We must ask why do we, as patients have to keep going to the health system, why can't the health system come to us, the patients?" said Pettigrew.
Other countries are progressing rapidly towards large-scale home based digital medical home models that better serve consumers with serious but manageable chronic diseases, she said
Telehealth and telecare models based around the patient in their home or community setting can provide many more options to healthcare consumers to improve their quality of life and help them feel more in control of their own healthcare. International case studies on telehealth models from the US and UK suggest dramatic cost savings which can make structural change to the healthcare budgets for all Australians, Pettigrew said.
It is only through health reform and activity based funding which aligns the motivations of our Federal and State health systems that we can look to sensible and cost effective models of care such as telehealth, on scale.
3. Connected Electronic Medications Management
"Any government serious about not just saving money but saving lives must look at supporting the introduction of electronic medications management. A crucial objective for a Federal government should be to ensure all primary care clinicians can connect with the medications management tools and systems being implemented in the acute hospital sector. Evidence from the Medical Journal of Australia supports the life saving essential nature of electronic medications management to reduce medication error and improve patient safety," CSC stated.
"In terms of modern healthcare policies, any incoming government must consider the critical infrastructure nature of electronic health records and the increasing cyber security threats and risks, the embrace of truly patient-centred telehealth models which can provide structural sustainability to healthcare budgets and more options for patients, and a focus on national linkages of electronic medications management across the primary care and hospital sector to ensure the best opportunity to provide safe, quality care to patients," Pettigrew said.
"CSC looks forward to moving past the election cycle and helping the elected government embrace new models of care underpinned by modern technology to best serve the needs of clinicians, consumers and carers. As the world's largest healthcare systems implementer and one of the leading healthcare software providers in Australia, we are well placed and experienced at all levels and setting of healthcare, across the length and breadth of Australia, to support health reform."