HIC2015: Qld Health restructures with dedicated eHealth division

The Queensland government has set up a dedicated eHealth division called eHealth Queensland, bringing together the responsibilities of the Health Services Information Agency (HSIA) with the office of the chief health information officer, currently held by Mater Health CIO Mal Thatcher.

Health Minister Cameron Dick told the Health Informatics Conference (HIC) in Brisbane today that the government believed that having Queensland Health's strategic and operational information technology leadership in one agency would better enable it to achieve its eHealth goals.

“We are committed to a fully integrated health system with a mobile workforce that can access information as quickly and as close to the patient as possible,” Mr Dick said.

“Our eHealth investment priorities include contemporary network and data centre foundations, a contemporary desktop environment to support a consistent user experience, a secure environment to share information and images, and to consult with others through an information interoperability platform and a statewide electronic medical record system that enables digital hospitals.”

Mr Dick said Queensland would continue the roll-out of the integrated electronic medical record solution (ieMR) in staged releases at selected state hospitals. The solution, from global EMR giant Cerner, supports order entry, pathology and radiology results, reporting, clinical documentation, alerts and allergies, and discharge summaries.

Queensland is also implementing a statewide patient information viewing solution called The Viewer that provides Queensland Health clinicians with faster access to comprehensive current patient information in one place. The Viewer is also Queensland's link to the PCEHR.

“Queensland is also recognised as a leader in the adoption of national eHealth standards, solutions and infrastructure,” Mr Dick said. “Queensland Health recently launched an eHealth architecture vision which will form the basis the development of our technology roadmap. It will service our clinicians, consumers and administrators across the healthcare system, delivering quality information and better health outcomes for patients.”

He also asserted the government's commitment to telehealth, also an area championed by his predecessor as health minister, Lawrence Springborg. With the state of Queensland five times the size of Japan and seven times the size of the UK – “and my favourite, two and half times the size of Texas”, Mr Dick said – the state faced bigger challenges than most in providing healthcare to its people.

“That's why I am particularly interested in telehealth,” he said. “Telehealth, as many of you know, plays a key role in providing access and sustainable care for rural and remote communities in particular. Queensland currently has one of the largest managed telehealth networks in Australia with over 2000 systems deployed in over 200 hospitals and community facilities. The network supports more than 40 clinical specialties and subspecialties across our state.

“I saw this in operation myself in Mt Isa when I was connected through the telehealth system on an iPad to a clinic in Mornington Island, which is in the Gulf of Carpentaria. So you can be in the ED in Mt Isa Hospital and connect through telehealth on the iPad to the health clinic and the staff there at Mornington Island. And that’s the future.

“We will jump a generation of technology and ultimately we will be having that connection with patients in their home, across the internet. In the future that’s how patients will be connecting with their clinicians, with their rehab specialists, with their allied health specialists, with their nursing support and it will happen over the internet from their home. In many ways, that wasn’t even contemplated 22 years ago when this conference was first held.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

Comments   

# Mark Brommeyer 2015-08-06 08:07
Good news for Queensland and good news for Health Informatics. On behalf of the HISA Queensland Branch, we welcome thoughts, comments and inputs as to how best we can assist locally to enhance our digital health, e-health and health informatics development opportunities.
With thanks,
Mark

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