IVF Australia is to offer HealthMe, an interactive electronic system that allows patients to self-manage medical records, log test results and communicate with others - from doctors to fellow patients.
After a successful trial with 17 patients, the new system was presented at an e-health symposium at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently.
"The women wanted an e-health system that was more deeply integrated with their care, accessible through their Blackberries and iPhones," says Professor Enrico Coiera, Director of the Centre for Health Informatics at UNSW, which is marking its 10th anniversary.
"We picked IVF for the trial because it's a very demanding two months that the patients go through. They need a lot of support," he says. "The women often used it to help remember what they needed to do. That meant when they went back to the clinic they were armed with important questions and information."
In future doctors will be able to see if a patient has taken a medication or actually undergone a requested test and what the results are.
The trial of the program is also being rolled out to other parts of the population.
"The system is controlled by the patient, so the privacy issues are kept to a minimum," says Professor Coiera. "While it is interactive like a social networking site, our system would provide a much tighter community. You might share information only with people who have the same condition as you."
People with multiple conditions stand to benefit the most, according to Professor Coiera: "Often information is not shared between different treating doctors and the medications they prescribe in isolation, may together affect each other. This way, all the records are kept in the one place for the first time. It's a way that the patient can help glue the care system together."
In this year's Federal budget, the government earmarked half-a-billion dollars for e-health.