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Issue #1462      7 July 2010

Health identifiers a good start on e-health

Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) federal secretary elect Lee Thomas welcomed the introduction of the Healthcare Identifiers Act saying it will improve patient safety and care by giving nurses and midwives access to electronic health records.

Ms Thomas said the ANF hoped the government’s e-health reform agenda could now be advanced to deliver a more streamlined health system for the nation.

“On a daily basis nurses and midwives are forced to make important decisions on how to initiate care for seriously ill people who may present to a hospital and often the nursing and medical staff will not know that person’s medical history,” she said.

Ms Thomas said e-Health would also make life easier for those on a complex regime of medication.

“Are they allergic to certain medicines? What, if any, medicines are they taking? Do they have an underlying medical condition or are they pregnant? This is vital information that could be quickly accessible through e-Health,” Ms Thomas said.

“Most people, including the ageing, struggle to remember the names of all their medicines and often forget important information that may affect decisions around what treatment they should be given. It would be a great help to have a comprehensive health profile of that person including their current health condition and medications.”

The ANF is committed to the development of an integrated e-health system and will continue to work with the federal government on the implementation of a system that benefits patients and health care providers.  

Next article – Howard’s treatment by ICC should not surprise anyone

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