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Electronic medication records a boon for consumer safety: Health Ministers.



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Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge Minister for Health and Aged Care

ELECTRONIC MEDICATION RECORDS A BOON FOR CONSUMER SAFETY - HEALTH MINISTERS Australian Health Ministers today considered and agreed to lend their support to a proposal to develop a system of electronic medication records.

Speaking at the Australian Health Ministers' Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, said today's show of support for the proposal in-principle could lead to significant and genuine improvements in health outcomes in a relatively short time.

"The Better Medication Management System (BMMS) is a way to bring together currently fragmented medication record systems by using information technology to link patients, doctors, pharmacists and hospitals," Dr Wooldridge said.

The new system would be entirely voluntary for all parties - consumers, prescribers and dispensers. The BMMS offers consumers access to their own medication record for the first time.

"This affords consumers the opportunity to become active participants in their medication management. It also enables doctors and pharmacists - with patient consent - to make prescribing and dispensing decisions based on knowledge of what has been prescribed for a patient before and what other current medications a patient is taking.

"An area of potentially great gains will be at the interface with public hospitals, where quick access to a patient's medication record could be life saving."

In terms of the broader health IT agenda being discussed at the conference, Health Ministers agreed that the BMMS provides a unique opportunity to apply the principles for HealthConnect in a confined and manageable area of the wider health sector.

State and Territory Health Ministers commented that all could learn a great deal from the BMMS experience when it comes to developing the HealthConnect proposal.

Chairing the conference, South Australian Human Services Minister, Dean Brown, said he believed the BMMS promised substantial gains in consumer safety.

Serena Williams, Dr Wooldridge's office, 0411 261 627 Virginia Dove, Department of Health and Aged Care, 0411 255 229 Peter Gandolfi, Mr Brown's office, 0418 851 033 Media Contact:

Serena Williams, Dr Wooldridge's office, 0411 261 627 Virginia Dove, Department of Health and Aged Care, 0411 255 229 Peter Gandolfi, Mr Brown's office, 0418 851 033

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©Commonwealth of Australia, 2000

Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care web site 31 July 2000 Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2000/mw/mwhmc2001.htm