Thursday, 3 December 2015
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Health. I was pleased when the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN was chosen as the first Australian trial site for the all-inclusive creation of My Health Records with an opt-out option available. This will give doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers instant access to the information needed to treat patients safely and efficiently and possibly save lives. Minister, could you please advise my constituents in the Hawkesbury in the Blue Mountains when this trial will commence?
Just before I call the Minister for Health, I point out again to those asking constituency questions that I am keeping a tally. I can see the member for Bennelong's disappointment, but he has already asked two questions, so I will get to him later.
Thank you to the member for Macquarie for her question. I was very pleased to announce in October that the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, which is jointly under the custodianship of the member for Macquarie and the member of Lindsay, is going to be part of the government's trial of the personally controlled electronic health record—Labor's name—which has transferred to us as My Health Record. This is an important example of this government harnessing digital innovation and cleaning up Labor's mess. They designed and spent millions on an electronic health record that made no sense at all because it was opt in. We have changed it to an opt-out system.
We are conducting two trials: the one I mentioned and the one in the electorate of Leichhardt. I know that, after this, we will be able to trial something that is a key microeconomic reform in Australia today, and that is e-health. This is not just turning a paper record into an e-health record. My Health Record is transformative. It will, indeed, result in better services for patients and a better understanding of the transition between the primary care that you receive and the hospital care that you sometimes go in and out of. Imagine someone turning up in emergency, clutching a fistful of documents: diagnostic imaging, pathology records and letters from their GP et cetera. Pharmacists, specialists, doctors and even allied health professionals—very important in the overall clinical care of a person—will be able to add those clinical records to a person's e-health record.
Beyond this My Health Record, there is no doubt that the harnessing of digital innovation and consumer engagement is a key new frontier for digital health care in Australia. We know that the internet of things is moving the value proposition into applications and services away from connections and devices. There are real, key opportunities for consumers to inform providers of the data on their own health, which can make a real difference to them and their lives. Thank you to members on this side who have strongly supported My Health Record. I know that it will really develop into a key health tool and a key innovative tool in the future.