The modernisation program for the My Health Record system received a big boost in today’s federal budget, receiving $429 million over two years to build a new national repository platform and investment to improve the sharing of pathology and diagnostic imaging data.
The funding compares to the last budget allocation in 2021, which saw it receive just over $300m over two years for ongoing operations. It brings direct funding for the system since its conception in 2010 to over $2.3 billion.
The budget papers say the funding will be used to both modernise My Health Record, including by creating a new National Repository platform to support more secure data sharing across all healthcare settings, but also investment to improve the sharing of pathology and diagnostic imaging information, and targeted investment to increase allied health professionals’ connection to MyHR.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has also received a boost, with $325.7 million allocated over four years from 2023-24 to establish it as an ongoing entity. It will also receive approximately $79.9 million per year ongoing. The government plans to fund a review of ADHA’s enabling legislation to ensure the agency remains fit for purpose, the papers say.
There is also $111.8 million over four years and $24.2 million ongoing to provide electronic-prescription delivery infrastructure and services. This will include “mandating the use of e-prescribing for high risk and high cost medicines subsidised under the PBS”, the papers say.
The Department of Health and Aged Care is shortly to announce the winners of a tender it issued last year for prescription delivery service infrastructure.
Money has also been put aside to digitise services and better connect health data as part in response to the recommendations made in the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report and the Independent Review into Medicare Integrity and Compliance.
One of the biggest items in the budget is a tripling of the bulk-billing incentive for families with children under 16, concession card holders and aged pensioners. This will help fund longer telehealth and in-person consultations for patients registering with a regular practice through MyMedicare, the voluntary patient enrolment system.
MyMedicare is also being extended to aged care through a new General Practice in Aged Care Incentive (GPACI) involving $112 million over four years.
There is also $98.9 million over four years to connect frequent hospital users to a general practice to receive comprehensive, multidisciplinary care in the community to reduce the likelihood of hospital re-admission.
For aged care, in addition to the huge increase in pay for aged care workers, the government has allocated $139.9 million over four years for the Star Rating system and $59.5 million over five years for ICT infrastructure for the national worker screening and registration scheme.
There is also $10.9 million in 2024-25 to run a trial to test products and services for a new assistive technologies loan program, commencing in July 2024 in two states and territories.