AMA gets behind eHealth

From the CeBIT website:

The Australian Medical Association has called on the Federal Government to boost spending on eHealth initiatives, as both a means of boosting the economy and delivering health care efficiencies.

In its annual budget submission, Australia’s peak health industry lobby says an eHealth investment should be viewed as part of a “nation building” exercise.

“The economic down turn, individual and family financial stress, and increasing unemployment all mean that the government’s commitment to supporting and funding health is even more important,” AMA president, Dr Rosanna Capolingua said.

“It is times like this that the government’s essential role is to ensure and under pin access to high quality, affordable health care for all Australians,” Dr Capolingua said.

“Healthcare is essential not only for individuals, families and communities but also for a productive workforce.

“Poor health costs the community $7 billion in absenteeism alone, while employees coming to work sick and unproductive costs a further $25.7 billion a year.

“The costs to business and the community are likely to increase as the economic downturn takes its’ toll on health,” she said.

The measures outlined in the submission were cost effective, sensible and achievable, Dr Capolingua said. They include improving access to health services for Indigenous and rural communities, retention of the Medicare safety net, and proper indexation of the medical benefits scheme.

“Investing now will pay major dividends for coming generations as well as immediately addressing the increase in health problems that impact on individuals and communities as a result of economic hardship,” she said.

The AMA’s budget submission outlines a range of measures to support and enhance Australia’s world-class health system, and ensure the broadest possible access to the system.