State by state: PCEHR and HWAN roll-out for NSW

NSW has been very active in eHealth developments following the launch of the Blueprint for eHealth in NSW in December and the establishment of a new eHealth NSW division in June.

Rural health has also been high on the agenda, with an eHealth strategy for rural and remote NSW developed in association with the wider blueprint.

At the RMA conference, eHealth NSW's director of innovation, strategy and architecture, Michael Costello, announced that the role of director of rural health within eHealth NSW had been filled. The agency's new chief clinical information office, John Lambert, is also a rural doctor, working as an intensivist at Orange Hospital.

Dr Costello also announced that the HealtheNet program, which was developed in western Sydney as part of the Wave 2 sites for the implementation of the PCEHR, had now been used to link 26 hospitals in NSW to the PCEHR and would be rolled out to all of other hospitals in the state by March next year.

Dr Costello also said the department had put its rural eHealth strategy in place. “One aspect is telehealth,” he said. “We asked the stakeholders what do you want, they gave us the outcomes that they think rural health [should be] having and one of those is telehealth.”

As outlined in the rural eHealth strategy, NSW is building a Health Wide Area Network (HWAN) to not only boost broadband speeds to rural hospitals but to also further enable telehealth provision.

“So far we have 700 sites which actually have a telehealth installation, whether that is high-def video or down to the corporate chatroom-type of software such as Lync,” he said.

“We are [building] the HWAN, which is essentially the highway and will allow HD video. That is a massive enabler and we are probably going to have that implemented [at the end of] 2015.

“What we would like to deliver in NSW in terms of telehealth is a ubiquitous program across the state where telehealth is not an extra to the clinical experience; it is integrated into the clinical experience.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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