Up­grade will cure health’s IT woes

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - EL­LIE TURNER

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.