All the necessary infrastructure for e-healthcare is being put in place in Australia, says Peter Fleming, Chief Executive Officer of National E-Health Transition Authority(NEHTA).
The standards and foundations for nationwide e-health solutions in Australia have now mainly been completed, he asserts.
The authority has been given an "absolute mandate" from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to create a uniform IT infrastructure and deliver individual healthcare identifiers (which link electronic medical records together).
Federal and state government agreement on the urgent need for healthcare safety and efficiency gains, detailed in several recent reports, signals an end to years of under-investment and fragmentation as parties pursued their own technology agendas.
"Legislative changes are needed, but from a technical perspective we aim to be in a position this year to run some pilots," Fleming said. "We're in very close dialogue with a number of groups about trials of electronic medication management and hospital discharge summaries."
Late last year, the COAG approved US$145 million in funds to extend NEHTA's operations.
Fleming said the organisation was working with software vendors to assess their capabilities and move towards the goal.
NEHTA has also been working closely with CIOs from state and territorial governments. The states had the "absolute intent" of following NEHTA standards with any projects they conducted, said Fleming.