Implementation of the National E-Health Strategy

Australia needs to commit quickly to implementing the national e-health strategy.
 
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister last month, BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey says e-health –  using communication technology means to improve the flow of health information – is a key driver of future productivity gains in health.
 
But e-health “will require national leadership and commitment to investment in national infrastructure to make it happen”, the letter says.
 
Private investment as well as public investment will be needed to make e-health effective, it notes. But before business can begin to invest, state and federal governments must commit to making their own investments in the national infrastructure. Governments must also commit to invest in connecting public health providers to ensure that the potential benefits for patients and the sector are realised.
 
The letter is supported by an eight-page paper that summarises the proposed implementation plan for e-health. It supports and endorses the national e-health strategy adopted by the ministers for health and the draft implementation plan produced recently by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
 
The paper reiterates that the estimated e-health benefits of $27.8 billion in the first eight years of implementation outstrip the costs of e-health investment – $6.3 billion over five years.
 
The economic imperatives for healthcare reform were set out in the BCA’s Fit for the Job paper. That paper said Australia’s healthcare services need to be integrated into a true system in order both to provide for patient needs and to drive efficiency.

The BCA has also written to the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, and the Leader of the Opposition, to highlight the importance of investment in e-health.

Health Information Needs an Urgent Technological Injection (news release)

Letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the National E-Health Strategy