Upgrade will cure health’s IT woes
THE Territory Government will invest more than $250 million in the Rolls Royce of integrated digital medical records so frontline nurses and doctors can focus on patient healthcare instead of battling outdated technology.
The NT will be the first jurisdiction in the country to have a single IT system holding Territorians’ medical records when the five-year rollout is complete.
Cardiologist Dr Nadarajah Kangaharan said the project could save lives.
“You have seconds and minutes to make decisions with critically ill people,” Dr Kangaharan said.
“There is no doubt (easily accessible) medical records and improved efficiency will help minimise risks.”
Australian Medical Association president Robert Parker said he welcomed the upgrade.
“We have advocated strongly for this,” Mr Parker said.
The new government’s four disparate IT systems – acute care, community care, primary care and clinical workstation – have long resulted in fragmented information, and problems including a wellpublicised failure when some diabetics in Central Australia missed out on medication for several months.
Government workers at the Territory’s six hospitals and about 50 clinics will have exclusive access to the new records, designed to eliminate double handling and most paper-based records.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said: “This isn’t about opting in; this is about ensuring health providers have the most up-to-date information. The records are protected by privacy laws.”
Private practitioners will not have access without patient permission.
Ms Fyles said the “overdue” upgrade would avoid an obsolete system crisis – one of the old databases is 25-years-old.
“We risk future financial and health issues if we don’t keep pace,” she said.
Work will begin when the tender is awarded this month.