NSW seeks better analytics, consistency with digital health record initiative

NSW Health seeks input on Single Digital Patient Record

NSW Health has launched a formal market engagement process to as it seeks to boost the capabilities of the state’s electronic medical record system.

“NSW Health is considering a range of options to enhance its electronic medical record capability into the future,” an eHealth NSW spokesperson told Computerworld.

A Single Digital Patient Record (SDPR) “will provide a holistic, state-wide view of a patient’s health care information,” states a request for information (RFI) document released this week by NSW Health.

“The SDPR will support safe, high-quality healthcare for patients and a more consistent ICT user experience for healthcare providers.”

The state government’s 10-year eHealth strategy, launched in 2016, called for NSW Health to “continue its journey toward an integrated digital patient record so patients have consistent health and wellbeing engagement no matter when or where they interact with it.”

“This includes developing enhanced functionality and integration of core clinical information systems across care settings, clinical specialties, NSW Health Organisations, Jurisdictional Health Organisations, and private care providers,” the document stated.

The NSW Treasury in 2006-07 funded the initial tranche of work on the state’s Electronic Medical Record (eMR) system.

The SDPR initiative “aims to build on current EMR capabilities and harmonise approaches to create greater consistency across the state,” the eHealth NSW spokesperson said.

eHealth NSW expects a range of benefits from the SDPR, including improved safety and quality in the continuity of patient care, a consistent patient experience, and a “consistent and enhanced clinician experience” with electronic medical record systems.

The SDPR is expected to be easier to integrate with community-based and private healthcare providers, the spokesperson said. In addition, it’s expected to make it easier to implement consistent data analytics and clinical decision support.

The RFI will “help inform future business case development and enable industry to offer valuable input into the initiative,” the spokesperson said.

“The RFI will outline the current NSW Health EMR landscape and overall vision for the SDPR. This will include key considerations for future directions and enhancement priorities. The RFI will also explore options that may support Horizon 3 of the eHealth Strategy for NSW Health: 2016-2026, including options for consumer engagement such as patient portals.”

NSW Health “is seeking input regarding solutions, services, and experiences that industry and key stakeholders can provide to support this initiative,” the spokesperson added. “This is expected to include key products, services, approaches, costs, options and lessons learnt from previous experiences.”

Last year the federal government’s national eHealth record initiative, MyHealthRecord, was mired in controversy. A MyHealthRecord was automatically created for individuals who didn’t opt out of the system and the government in late 2018 passed additional legislation to enable the permanent deletion of records on request in response to privacy concerns.

The Australian reported this morning that life insurers had accessed the health records of around 150,000 people in an effort to deny insurance payouts.

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