Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) has been working with its member funds through the Industry eHealth Strategy Committee which was formed in 2000 and is a ‘voice’ for the Industry on eHealth. The Committee, reports to the PHA Executive Committee for outcomes to be considered at the National level.

The Australian Government is investing $467 million over two years to develop the critical national infrastructure for eHealth records as a key element of the national health reform agenda. This project is aimed at giving all Australians from July 2012 the option to sign up for a personally controlled eHealth record. The objective of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) is to enable better access to important health information currently held in dispersed records around the country. It will mean that patients will no longer need to unnecessarily repeat their medical history every time they see a doctor or other health professional.

For the first time, all Australians who choose to participate will be able to see their important health information, when and where they need it. They will be able to share this information with trusted healthcare providers.

The system is being built on the foundations laid by infrastructure such as the National Healthcare Identifier Service that launched in July 2010 and it is hoped that eHealth records will improve accessibility to health services and patient information, which over time will significantly enhance health outcomes.

The PCEHR is a significant change in health care management in Australia and PHA is very interested in the next iteration of the PCEHR Draft Concept of Operations – Relating to the introduction of a PCEHR system as Health Industry Funds want to ensure that they are well positioned to provide good services to their members who take up a Personal Health Indicator.

The PCEHR Legislation Issues Paper was made publicly available for comment and PHA submitted feedback to the Department on the key issues for the Private Health Insurance Industry.

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