Quality & Patient Safety

Australia: New patient e-cards to aid in patient information retention

Patient Safety Monitor: Global Edition, January 6, 2009

Health Minister Katy Gallagher has called for patient electronic health cards for Canberra hospitals within the next few years, according to the Canberra Times (Australia.)

According to a national report issued in December 2008, up to 18% of medical errors in the country can be blamed on the poor quality of health system information, the Times reported. The study also found that Australia is far behind other countries in Asia and Europe when it comes to dealing with electronic health records.Gallagher hopes the electronic health cards will serve as a repository for patient records and information, increasing patient safety.

Currently, Australia's patient information is fragmented, and patients have no access to their health records, according to the Times. The new proposed e-card system includes a 10-year strategy that incorporates information technology into health systems.

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