Saturday, April 20, 2024

New health information sharing Bill enters Victorian parliament

The Victorian Government has introduced a new Bill to parliament in a bid to establish secure health information sharing arrangements across the State’s public health system.

Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas said the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 will enable hospitals and health services to quickly access accurate patient information in one centralised location.

“Secure health information sharing will deliver Victorians the same benefits that patients around the country are already getting, ensuring they receive the best possible care,” said Minister Thomas.

“This legislation includes strict rules around who can access patient information and why, so Victorians can rest easy knowing their health data is secure.”

The Minister said the system will only be accessible by clinical staff and provide access to vital medical information irrespective of where the patient previously received care, which in an emergency could be lifesaving.

“The new arrangements will be useful for patients with chronic conditions or in emergency situations who are often too unwell or unable to communicate to healthcare workers their allergies, past diagnostic tests, and treatments.”

“It will also assist patients with language barriers, provide better support for Telehealth and virtual care, and help Ambulance Victoria make more accurate assessments of patient care needs,” she said.

Currently, a patient’s clinical information is stored in different places which slows down diagnosis and treatment. Requesting information from multiple different hospitals manually can be a lengthy process for doctors and nurses, but these changes will create a stronger and more connected system, the Minister said.

Similar information sharing systems are already operating in other parts of Australia and this legislation will bring Victoria into line with other states and territories, she said.

The new system will have strict security and privacy controls, including safeguards to record where and when information about a patient is shared. Unauthorised access, use or disclosure of information from the system will see offenders face strict penalties.

The legislation is the latest implementation of recommendations from the Targeting Zero report on the safety and quality of care in Victoria. It called for all major hospitals to have electronic health record systems that can share patient information.

Latest Articles