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On the Brink of Success
Connected Health in Australia will hinge on a number of factors—care setting, geographic region and organisation among them. Even so, the country's health system is sustaining some important reforms, and recent policies signal positive change.
Some key elements of the Australian e-health strategy include:
A nationwide personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system under preparation to launch in July 2012.
Investment in technologies such as electronic referral, electronic discharge and event summaries and electronic transmission of prescriptions.
Significant investments in an interoperable infrastructure—including health identifiers, interoperability standards and a national compliance body to review, test and certify solutions.
Various programmes designed to deliver clinical information systems to primary and secondary care settings.
A national vendor accreditation scheme.
As part of a sweeping study spanning eight countries, Accenture looked at how very different health systems are progressing on the journey to introduce the systematic application of healthcare IT—what Accenture calls "Connected Health". According to health industry executives and leaders who participated in the study, Australians see Connected Health as a crucial element to drive wider policy goals of improved access to healthcare services, quality of care and system efficiency.
There are three distinct stages in the journey toward Connected Health—healthcare IT adoption, health information exchange (HIE) and insight-driven healthcare. Australia is moving forwards on all three fronts:
While Australia has made significant progress towards Connected Health over recent years, it will continue to face some specific challenges. Accenture's research points to four barriers:
Recent government initiatives to further Connected Health will pave the way for widespread adoption of healthcare IT across Australia. This will increase quality and enhance access to care, while helping manage budgets more efficiently and effectively.
To achieve its Connected Health goals, Australia should focus on:
January 25, 2012
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