The Digital Health Division supports the Government in leading the national rollout of eHealth initiatives including foundation technology and related services across Australia. The national eHealth program aims to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of patient care by reducing the fragmentation of health information across the health care sector and by increasing its accuracy and availability.
The division has been responsible for the ongoing improvements and continued operation of the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR) since its implementation in July 2012. The PCEHR has been a key element of this strategy. It currently provides individuals with a central summary up to date, and accurate record of their health information, which can be accessed wherever they healthcare services, providing healthcare professionals the information they need to make better decisions for the treatment of their patients.
In November 2013, the Government commissioned an external review of the PCEHR to examine implementation of the PCEHR system, including complexity, user expectations and governance arrangements. The review found strong support for continuing to develop and implement a consistent and effective shared electronic health record for all Australians.
The 2014-15 Budget provided $140.6 million to support the operation of the PCEHR system for 12 months and eHealth foundations (e.g. Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service, the National Authentication Service for Health and Clinical Terminologies) while the Government planned its response to the recommendations of the PCEHR review.
In the 2015-16 Budget, the Government announced its response to the review, and the My Health Record Strategy to be developed over the next four years. This strategy includes:
- redevelopment to improve usability, and continued operation of the eHealth system, and renaming it as the My Health Record System;
- setting up governance arrangements for the Australian Commission for eHealth, including the development of plans to transfer the functions of various organisations, including the National eHealth Transition Authority (NEHTA), and functions from within the Department of Health’s eHealth Division, and potentially from the Department of Human Services. This will provide one organisation and one governing body for all national eHealth services in Australia; and
- Establishing trials of approaches for individuals participation in the eHealth system including opt-out, and will bring forward legislative changes to the PCEHR and the Health Identifiers Act to support the future eHealth program.
- Legislation and Policy Branch
- eHealth Design and Operations Branch
- eHealth Participation and Use Branch
PCEHR Review and Consultation information