Yesterday morning, as I was trying to drive the blur from my head with a coffee sumata at Goodies before walking over to the office, I overheard the conversation of the Aussies sitting at the table. I was a little bit late and Mike, Doug and Bruce were already there.
They were talking about healthcare, specifically about a new program in Australia where you can have your electronic medical records available to you anywhere in the world. This is of particular interest to Australian expats, and the trio at the table were Australian. I would think it would be a nice resource to have for most anyone from any country, if they do any traveling or spend any time living outside their home country.
I was curious. I knew already that Australia has universal healthcare but I didn’t know to what stage they had gone with electronic medical records (EMR). In fact, at my time at Health Management Technology, I had come under the impression that EMRs were unique to America. Wrong!
America may actually be way behind in adoption of EMRs.
In Australia, all hospitals, doctors and other medical providers have to have their records digitized, made electronically (Internet) available. Otherwise, they would not be paid by the government program. In other words, everyone in Australia is using EMRs; meanwhile the U.S. is at maybe 20 percent. Of course, this Australia system is a terrible thing – except that it reduces costs and makes doctors’ and hospitals’ jobs easier. (And makes medical treatment safer and less expensive for the patient.)
Of course, Mike, Doug and Bruce liked the new program that would allow them or their overseas medical providers to access their medical records. Who wouldn’t. But they also made sure to mention that healthcare in Australia is much cheaper than in the U.S. And they had no beefs about the quality of healthcare in their home country. Quite the contrary.