Monday, October 18, 2010

ACT Health Records Legislation

The ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services presented the "Territory Records Amendment Bill 2010" bill to the ACT Legislative Assembly on 23 September 2010. As the explanatory statement says the new legislation is the result of a review to the Territory Records Act 2002 in 2009/10 and brings government recordkeeping under the one set of rules. Most significant is the effect on Health Records kept by government. These will still be protected by separate priovacy legislation but but allows ACT Health to have an integrated Records Management Program.

Hopefully this will enable ACT Health to implement an integrated electronic records management system for ACT hospitals. Recently I attended Canberra Hospital to hear of the results of medical tests, only to be told that the hospital had no record of the tests. The tests had been outsourced from Canberra to Calvary Hospital and there is no sharing of records, electronic or pn paper, between the two publicly funded hospitals. So the doctor then has to spend 20 minutes phoning Calvary Hospital and arranging to have the test results faxed over. Also the doctor was unable to find any previous test results from my previous stay in Canberra Hospital, due to a problem with the Canberra Hospital computer system.

This failure of the ACT Health system not only would have resulted in a waste of public money (with five times the cost is staff time) but also places the health of patients at risk. Hopefully the new legislation will enable ACT Health to implement an integrated electronic medical record system for publicly funded hospitals in Canberra.

As I am designing a course in Electronic Data Management for ANU , I might use the design of electronic records system for Canberra hospitals as a case study. The ANU teaches doctors in Canberra's hospitals and so I can teach the doctors who will need to use the system how that system should work and how to use it.

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