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Australia: Focus and Future of e-Health in New South Wales
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Australia
Created: Oct 09, 2012

The government of New South Wales in Australia launched an ambitious AU$1.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) eHealth agenda in June this year in a bid to improve the current health system across the state.

FutureGov met with Steven Boyages, Medical Director, eHealth NSW during the recent Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Singapore to discuss the progress of NSW’s future plans for eHealth.

“In Australia, at the national level, there’s a big project around electronic health records which is rolling out infrastructure, operating standards and architecture,” said Boyages. “The next level is managing what we are going to plug in to that grid to have a functional purpose.”

“The state governments are building many hospital based systems for electronic finance, patient administration, clinical reporting, and clinical documentation and information to assist in the day-to-day care,” Boyages explained.

“These two levels will start to integrate, and the hope is that the information that we collect at one point of care can then be shared at multiple points of care.”

Currently, NSW’s eHealth team is moving towards the full use of business analytics and intelligence for benchmarking. “We are using business analytics and intelligence tools to capture information that gives us further understanding of how our hospitals and clinicians perform in real time,” said Boyages.

“We are also planning how to measure some of the new types of parameters that are coming up.”

Boyages has big plans for eHealth in NSW in the future. Mobile Health is one of the focuses. “I think Mobile health is here to stay,” he said. “It’s not about if we will use mobility, but about how we will match our requirements to the technology that’s available.”

He added that social media is another focus that their team is keen on leveraging.

“I think our initial approach like everybody in health was ‘just say no’,” said Boyages. “But these tools serve a very useful educational purpose. Our patients and their communities are using these tools, so we have to understand how to best work with them rather than saying I don’t want to know about them.”

Additionally, the eHealth plans include leveraging big data. The team wants to explore how they can “use big data and big data analytics tools to predict different scenarios and clinical situations,” as Boyages said. “We want to see how we can use cloud infrastructure and cloud computing to improve access to information, security and distribution of functions across the different cities.”
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