Good afternoon. Today, it is my great pleasure to launch the Defence eHealth System – an electronic health record for every member of the ADF.
The eHealth record is designed to increase the individual combat effectiveness of Australia’s military men and women and is another example of how the Government is providing high quality health care to ADF members.
Health and its management is a major input to capability. You only have to look at what Howard Florey and his team did 75 years ago with their research into the effect of penicillin in combating bacterial disease.
This was achieved by significantly reducing the severity and duration of bacterial illness, through the mass production and application of an injectable form of penicillin.
Now imagine what can be achieved if a soldier’s complete medical record is in one place, at one time, available in garrison or on operations.
Imagine if Commanders can quickly ascertain the medical readiness of their entire formation, and rapidly formulate plans to address deficiencies.
Defence’s eHealth System will achieve this. It will support all primary health care services to ADF members and establishes Defence as the first organisation to introduce a national eHealth record management system in Australia.
Quite simply, it is one of the most important enablers of personnel health management and quality healthcare.
It will improve the availability of accurate, up-to-date health data to defence members’ treating clinicians and their health care providers.
It will allow health information to be easily and accurately passed to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and civilian health providers.
And, it realises process efficiencies with refined work practices, reducing duplication and ensuring a nationally consistent approach.
Ultimately, it is a system which will improve patient outcomes and improve Defence’s combat effectiveness.
The Defence eHealth System represents an investment of $133 million to modernise and streamline health care services provided to ADF members.
So far, the System has been successfully piloted in North Queensland in February, and has since been rolled out in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
South Australia’s roll out commences next week followed by New South Wales, Victoria and finally Tasmania.
By the end of the year, the system will be fully implemented into all Garrison Health Centres right across Australia.
Right now there are 25,000 ADF members with an active eHealth record.
The system is a mature one and based on the system provided by Egton Medical Information Systems to the UK Ministry of Defence since 2007.
It complies with the National eHealth Transition Authority (NeHTA) standards.
In Australia the system is managed and supported by the Computer Science Corporation – a company with a long history of providing technology to Defence.
I am pleased to say that early benefits for Defence members are already being realised.
For example, healthcare providers are now able to share information simply, ensuring a collective understanding of cases combined with consistent treatment plans.
But my message to you is that this project is not just about improvements for today.
The future benefits are also very exciting with information analysis and data interrogation metrics delivering Defence the ability to target specific health concerns backed by statistical evidence.
The Defence eHealth System is another example of this Government’s commitment to providing health care to Australia’s military which is compatible with, or exceeds, that available in the civilian community.
And it is a clear demonstration of the Government’s support of our Service men and women.
The Government places many demands and expectations on our military personnel – their service truly is unique.
In return, the Government is ensuring our personnel have the best possible health care and support.
The rollout of the defence eHealth System marks a key milestone in the Government’s commitment to ensuring Australian Defence Force members are provided with the best possible healthcare and health systems.