The system will place patient health records online so that health professionals are able to access information remotely.
It will be rolled out across the Northern Territory and the nation over the next 18 months.
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, says he has no doubt that patients’ private information will be secure.
“There will always be someone who tries to trick it, no question about that, we’ve got to be diligent … not only diligent but vigilant in ensuring we keep up to as strong as possible security standards that we implement,” he said.
Central Australian Health Centre Leading the Way on eHealth
The remote Central Australian Amplilatwatja Health Centre has become the first site in Australia to use national specifications to securely send and receive eHealth records between health facilities.
The Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, was on hand for this national first, which puts the Northern Territory at the forefront in the effort to develop a national electronic health records system.
Mr Snowdon said across the entire country ensuring our medical professionals have the latest information on their patients is a positive step to improving hospital and health care.
“eHealth records are a fantastic innovation, securely providing current medical histories to a GP or health provider, and the fact it has happened first in the Northern Territory shows we are really embracing the digital future.
“The Northern Territory has a very transient population and working to ensure important information such as referrals, test results and medication information is able to follow people wherever they go is vital,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Amplilatwatja Health Centre, which is working with the Continuity of Care Project, is the first health centre to adopt national secure messaging specifications allowing it to send electronic health records, or eHealth records, to other clinics and hospitals in the Northern Territory and across state and territory borders.
Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton said today is a celebration of the completion of the Continuity of Care Project, which has delivered Australia’s first deployment of a full end to end secure messaging solution. This is part of developing best practice that can be used in the national eHealth records system as it rolls out and evolves.
“It’s exciting that this small remote clinic is showing national leadership with this program.
“The national eHealth records system will start to roll out from July. As it evolves patients’ health information will follow them between health centres and hospitals across the country, providing for better and more consistent care.”
The new software was integrated into existing clinical systems at the Health Centre by Communicare Systems Pty Ltd and Database Consultants Australia Pty Ltd.
Northern Territory clinics, health centres, hospitals and GPs have been using secure messaging since its first implementation in 2006, with 400 sites now operating with the technology.
Around 80,000 referrals, discharge summaries, specialist letters, pathology results and radiology reports are sent and received between NT health clinics, hospitals and GPs each week.
Over the next 18 months, the NT Department of Health will begin transitioning its other health centres and hospitals to adopt the same national specifications already being used at Ampilalatwatja.
The Continuity of Care Project was provided through $200,000 in Northern Territory Budget funds over two years as well as $300,000 of COAG funded human resources from the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) which is 50% funded by the Commonwealth Government.