LASA welcomes eHealth changes, but notes issue

May 21, 2015 | Aged Care Management

A database of all patient data is crucial to streamlining healthcare.

Most providers and professionals involved in the Australian aged care system will understand the importance of eHealth – both as a tool to enable better care and to manage the growing resident populations in many aged care facilities across the country.

The Personally Controlled eHealth Record is an electronic health summary established by the Australian government, and the solution that the country will use for the foreseeable future. This record enables doctors and healthcare providers to view and share patient health information to provide better care.

It's easy to see how this solution will be useful in aged care – acting as a database of personal medical data, but Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has pointed out an issue.

In a recent release, the organisation welcomed the proposed changes to the system, but explained that aged care services need to be involved – especially in pilot sites or any reviews.

CEO of LASA Patrick Reid said that changing the system to an opt-out model will increase utilisation of the system and deliver benefits for most parties involved (family, carers and the health system), but stressed the importance of reviews.

"Engaging aged service providers and peak bodies such as Leading Age Services in the review process will be vital to ensuring specific needs are considered and addressed and that everyone involved in caring for older [Australians] will understand how the system will work," he said.

Mr Reid explained how continuity of care is important for aged care, especially when residents transfer between facilities or health settings. As all professionals have access to current resident data, the health outcomes are improved.

Issues like information management and financial sustainability remain of the utmost importance in Australian aged care, and it will be crucial to consider the advice of leading bodies like LASA as the sector continues on a growth swing.