Media releases

June 9, 2009

Health fund chief supports push for an electronic health record

Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, has weighed in on the debate over the merits of introducing an electronic health record.

"Many lives will be saved through the introduction of a personal e-health card that records an individual's key health-information," Mr Savvides said. "Many millions of dollars are currently wasted in health system quality failure, much of which can be avoided if a patient's personal history is accessible."

Just one benefit of an e-health card would be the opportunity to reduce adverse events in drug interaction that occur through the lack of patient history at key points in the health system. This is just one of many ways that patient care could be improved through a self managed, e-health record which can be stored on a uniquely identified card held by each individual.

"An electronic health record is a key piece of reform to tie the fragmented health care system together," Mr Savvides said.

"As Australia's population ages and the cost of health care rises, new and innovative procedures will demand faster access to patient information to produce desired health outcomes.

"In addition, the dramatic increase in chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension and respiratory diseases will require more frequent community or primary care solutions. Such treatment, co-ordinated by a GP and utilising multiple health providers, such as allied health professionals, pharmacists and home nurses, is critically dependent on having patient records that are easy to access and update.

"Studies have shown that up-to-date access to patient information available within multi-points of care coordination improve the health status of the patient, saves lives and lowers health system cost.

"Far from being a threat to personal liberties, the introduction of an e-health record controlled by the individual actually provides fairer and safer access to the health system, which is a right of all Australians," Mr Savvides said.

For further information please contact:
James Connors
Tel: 03 8622 5163 | Mob: 0433 992 677 | email:

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