E-health systems growing necessity

ADOPTION of electronic health records once depended on practice perception of its affordability, but according to NEHTA clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, take-up will soon instead hinge on when it becomes unaffor­dable not to.

Speaking at the recent National Rural Health Conference in Perth, Dr Haikerwal said the floods and cyclones that have ravaged Australia in recent months could act as a spur for any practice that had not yet shifted to a fully electronic system.

“[In cases of natural disasters] people may have to start again or rescue records,” he told MO.

“There will be a realisation there is more continuity if they use electronic systems… It is the lack of a good electronic system in place which is now making life more difficult [for some affected practices].”

Dr Haikerwal said extreme cases such as patients being transferred out of flood areas with a paper record “hastily thrown”