eHealth high on the agenda for health experts

Fixing eHealth and the PCEHR, and using eHealth and telehealth in clinically safe and acceptable forms, are some of the most pressing health priorities in 2014, according to a survey of healthcare experts in the AMA's Australian Medicine magazine.

Australian Medicine asked seven healthcare advocates to identify five top priorities for the coming year. AMA president Steve Hambleton singled out fixing eHealth and the PCEHR as one of his priorities.

“We must be able to talk to each other in the same language – general practice, hospitals (public and private), public outpatients, private specialists, aged and community care,” Dr Hambleton said. “Too often the right message just does not get through. Let's get the (e) rail gauge right and use it.”

Former AMA president and former NEHTA clinical lead Mukesh Haikerwal highlighted the use of eHealth and telehealth “logically in clinically safe and acceptable forms over and above the PCEHR,” mentioning secure messaging and web-based video conferencing as innovative technologies.

“We do have potential technology to support and enhance (but not replace) trusted, proven good clinical methods,” Dr Haikerwal said. “This is over and above, but could include, the PCEHR.”

Sydney University professor of public health and community medicine and Medical Journal of Australia editor in chief Stephen Leeder also pinpointed fixing IT as a priority. “We are 20 years behind best practice,” Professor Leeder said. “We can see what it looks like in the US. It requires a huge investment, but the pay-off in quality is immense.”

He also said data collection and evaluation was essential, especially the collection of national hospital safety and quality data, which he said was critical to monitoring the use of drugs and controlling the rise of drug-resistant infections.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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