E-health waste a billion-dollar Australian industry

Released this week was a Booz and Co consultancy report commissioned by the Government’s health reform adviser, the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission, that has warned Australia was wasting money and falling behind in the digital health revolution.

The Australian called it “a new study [that] slammed scattergun spending of almost $1.3 billion on state-based e-health schemes.” It also reported on the same day that State health ministers have finally agreed on a national plan to share patients’ electronic records.

It reported, “they gave the tick to the strategy commissioned in April amid controversy over delays, cost blowouts and resignations in e-health projects and bodies across the country.

“Electronic records for patients are currently held separately, if at all, across GP surgeries, hospitals, government agencies and other health centres, allowing only patchy sharing of information.

“The gaps have resulted in duplicate consultations, tests and treatments and prescribing mistakes, with past studies calculating the net benefits of better electronic record-keeping at up to $8.7 billion over the first 10 years.

“The lack of common IT systems and fast broadband has also stalled moves towards more sophisticated innovations, such as remote robotic surgery and electronic monitoring of patients.”

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