Senate gives healthcare identifiers Bill green light
AFTER months of uncertainty the Healthcare Identifiers Bill has finally been passed by the Senate.
The legislation, passed in the dying hours of Parliament before the winter recess, will enable all Australians and healthcare providers to be indentified by a unique 16-digit number.
Medicare will have allocated 98% of Australian’s an individual healthcare identifier by Monday.
National E-Health Transition Authority clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the Government and the Coalition should be congratulated for making e-health a priority.
“Great credit is to be given to the Government for persevering with this and so too the Opposition for putting the health of the nation first,” he said.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the legislation would improve the management and communication of health information for healthcare delivery.
“This is a key building block in the Government’s ambitious e-health reform agenda – helping to deliver a better, more streamlined health system for Australian families,” she said.
But health IT consultant Dr David More said he was sceptical about the benefits of the healthcare identifier legislation.
“If you naively believe sticking a number on the back of 22 million Australians will suddenly make a difference to the quality of care in Australia you are dreaming,” Dr More wrote in his blog.
“This is a complex program that will take years to get right and years to show any real benefits - if ever.”