Budget Delivers Certainty for eHealth System

Australian families will benefit from a $233.7 million investment to continue the rollout of a national, secure eHealth system which will deliver safer and better health services.

Page last updated: 08 May 2012

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8 May 2012

Australian families will benefit from a $233.7 million investment to continue the rollout of a national, secure eHealth system which will deliver safer and better health services.

From 1 July 2012, interested Australians will be able to register to create a personal eHealth record, which will help ensure they can receive the care they need, where and when they need it.

Protecting living standards of Australian families has been a key priority of the Gillard Government from day one, and this important measure reflects that commitment.

“eHealth will deliver practical benefits to Australian families by reducing medication errors and allowing parents to keep better track of their children’s immunisation records,” Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

“It will be much easier for Australians with complex and chronic health conditions to ensure that all their health practitioners are able to access their medical history, making diagnosis quicker and more accurate.”

“We have made good progress in the past two years in the development of Australia’s eHealth system. This Budget provides certainty as we move from its development to its operation.”

eHealth spending in the 2012-13 Budget comprises –

  • $161.6 million to operate the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system for the next two years, including registration and customer support, adoption support and benefits monitoring and evaluation;
  • $4.6 million to maintain safeguards for privacy-related aspects of the PCHER system. This will mean that people can be confident that the privacy of their personal health information is fully protected; and 
  • $67.4 million as the Commonwealth’s share of joint funding with the states and territories for the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) work program for the next two years. This is to operate and maintain critical services and standards for the secure electronic exchange of health information, including healthcare identifiers, authentication services and eHealth standards.

“This Budget builds on the Government’s commitment of $466.7 million over two years to 30 June 2012 to build the national infrastructure for the PCEHR system, moving the nation’s paper-based health system into the digital age,” Minister Plibersek said.

“The rollout of the national eHealth system will be gradual and carefully managed – this is the sensible and prudent way to implement such a large and transformational infrastructure project,” Ms Plibersek said.

eHealth will support a better healthcare experience for patients and improved support and decision-making for healthcare providers. It has been estimated that net benefits from the current PCEHR program will reach $11.5 billion over 15 years to 2025.

Privacy is a fundamental element of the PCEHR system. The Budget funds the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to have a privacy compliance and oversight role, handling privacy issues and complaints.

“Consumer confidence and trust in the appropriate handling of personal health information is at the heart of the project,” Minister Plibersek said.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220
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