In a significant nod to the future, the Northern Territory has followed the lead of the NSW government and announced a substantial investment in digital health systems.
The Territory will spend $259 million to replace the four separate clinical IT systems used by the health service with the aim of delivering a single digital medical record for all Territorians.
The project, called the Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program, will see the Territory become the first Australian state or Territory to have a single IT system for all its public healthcare sites.
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the program was designed to improve health outcomes by promoting efficiency, effectiveness and integration throughout the public healthcare system.
The ambitious program will be undertaken by global information technology company InterSystems.
“The TrakCare unified clinical information system will be implemented at every point of care across all public-health facilities, including the five existing public hospitals, the new Palmerston Regional Hospital (to be completed in 2018), 54 remote health centres and all community-based health services,” the company said in a statement.
This included linking up clinicians in remote locations with only intermittent internet access and with patients on disconnected devices across the 1.3 million square kilometre Territory.
The NT moves comes after the NSW State government last month earmarked more than half a billion dollars for upgrades to bring patient health records, medications management and sharing of pathology results into the interconnected digital era.