NEHTA announcement signals opportunities for private hospitals

December 9, 2014 | Aged Care Finance

Technology is set to play a key role in the future of the Australian health sector and the aged care industry, driving greater care and reducing unnecessary costs.

A recent announcement from the National E-Health Translation Authority (NEHTA) on 20 November could soon bring about significant changes – many of which might have far-reaching impacts – even for aged care providers.

Integrating systems with the PCEHR

Private hospitals will soon be able to receive funding from NEHTA to integrate their systems with the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).

This record is basically a secure online summary of a person’s health information, which is contributed to and updated by doctors and other medical professionals.

Thorough integration between the PCEHR and private hospitals will make it easier for patients to maintain updated health records and receive care from a number of different facilities.

However, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has come forward and stated that aged care providers should also be included in this integration.

“LASA has strongly advocated that age services be recognised, considering age service providers come second only to the state health system in volume,” said LASA CEO Patrick Reid.

“To date industry integration has not been supported and yet it is crucial to better care and reducing unnecessary costs.”

What this could mean for the aged care sector

If aged care were to be integrated with the PCEHR, providers and residents would certainly notice the benefits, especially over the long term. This is a system that makes it easy for people to use primary care, aged care and even public services from state hospitals.

As the aged population of Australia continues to rise, integrated systems could ensure consumer health information is always up to date.

“The number of older Australians engaged in commonwealth funded health and aged care demonstrates the urgent need to support our industry,” Mr Reid said.

“Between the [various programs] there are approximately 930,000 care recipients. It is expected this number will rise to 2.8 million over the next 30 years.”

There’s no telling yet whether this funding will be extended to the wider aged care sector, but the benefits of doing so certainly cannot be overlooked.

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