The area of eHealth is one of the most critical elements of the recent health reforms. It will serve not only as an enabler of improved information transparency, but also ensure better patient care, improve collegiate ties, enhance patient satisfaction and – ultimately – save lives.

It is also an area of significant investment. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing (Department) is currently progressing key foundational activities supporting the Government’s eHealth agenda, including the Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service), which commenced operations on 1 July 2010, as well as investing $466.7 million over two years from July 2010 to establish a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system.

Proposals to develop a PCEHR system are predicated on the eHealth readiness of key populations of health professionals, including medical specialists and allied health professionals, to provide quality healthcare along the continuum of care in the primary and ambulatory care sectors. As we look at overseas examples, one of the areas that is consistently overlooked is the importance of clinical engagement and clarity on medical uses. Obtaining an understanding of the eHealth readiness of key stakeholders in the health system is the first step on the path to ensuring strong clinical engagement.

To further this goal, the Department of Health and Ageing commissioned McKinsey to undertake an objective assessment of the medical specialist sector's eHealth readiness.

Ultimately, the objective of this report is to inform the broader goal of clinical engagement in eHealth enabled models of care delivery, centred on the patients. In addition, this report aims to profile the baseline penetration of equipment and usage of technologies into this sector (connectivity, software, platforms, technologies), the mindsets and behaviours of medical specialists towards eHealth adoption and usage and the barriers and drivers for medical specialists to participate in future national eHealth initiatives. Each of these is a critical component in ensuring the long-term success of Australia’s eHealth agenda.

This report combines qualitative and quantitative primary research, secondary research including a review of global literature, and existing perspectives from various organisations. We hope it is useful in achieving the above objectives, and are proud to present this report to the Department.

          Charlie Taylor
          McKinsey & Co
          David Champeaux
          McKinsey & Co
          Damien Bruce
          Associate Principal
          McKinsey & Co