Federal Govt introduces e-health legislation

Minister Roxon introduced the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011 into Parliament

The Federal Department of Health has introduced e-health legislation into Parliament pertaining to its $467 million Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project, scheduled for completion by 1 July 2012.

The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011 was introduced by the minister for health and ageing, Nicola Roxon, and includes requirements for privacy breaches, the ability for patients to nominate authorised individuals to have rights in regards to their e-health records and the establishment of an Independent Advisory Panel to advise on policy and operations. It also has provisions around audit logs for consumers, and stipulates the Australian Information Commissioner will become the system’s key regulator.

“The legislation will strike the right balance between security and access,” Roxon said. “Two rounds of consultation were held on this legislation prior to its introduction.

“It is disappointing that the Opposition have continued to say ‘no’ to e-health records, including a pledge to cut all of its $467 million funding at the last election.

“Records will have the capacity to contain summary information such as conditions, medications, allergies and records of events such as hospital stays.

“Our legislation will also allow records to be connected to the existing information from Medicare systems.”

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), along with the National E-Health Transition Authority, (NEHTA) revealed detailed plans last month for the third round of funding to be allocated for the PCEHR, as negotiations are near completion.

It will be used to support the management of delivery partners to complete the build of the system, implement strategies for change and takeup of the PCEHR, and to support the e-health sites in implementing and testing aspects of e-health record.

It follows the previous funding of $50.5 million for the period from May to October 2011, and initial funding of $38.5 million allocated to support the project from November 2010 to April 2011.

NEHTA also recently published its final Specifications and Standards Plan for the project, confirming the introduction of “tiger teams” and the elimination of the previous development strategy which was considered time consuming.

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Tags e-healthPersonally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)Health Minister Nicola Roxon

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