Health Policy

Australian Capital Territory budget injects $90m into e-health

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has allocated $90 million it described as an “unprecedented level of investment” to electronic health initiatives in its annual budget, including an e-health record for all residents of the territory.

The funding would help improve safety and quality of care in hospitals, with a focus on improving efficiency across the board. The state had initiated a $100 million project to digitise no less than 250 hospitals, following on recommendations made in the Garling review of the state health sector in 2008. The state has received $39.5 million over five years from Kevin Rudd’s Digital Education Revolution, which will go to similar initiatives. A further $2.8 million will go to improve the stability and reliability of the state’s troubled emergency services Computer Aided Dispatch system through replacing the associated Mobile Data System and improving the service’s wide area network. A damning auditor report into the system in late 2007 embarrassed government at the time. The technology is used by emergency staff on vehicles such as fire engines.

The government accounts also revealed its ICT shared services division InTACT would cost it more in the 2009/2010 financial year than it had in 2008, with InTACT’s total expenses rising from an estimated $114.1 million last year to a projected $120.4 million in 2009/2010.

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