The Federal Government has announced more than $4 million in funding to upgrade and improve IT services for Indigenous health organisations across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Speaking in Darwin on 10 June Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon said the “funding support will help bring these Aboriginal health bodies to the forefront of the IT health field”. Mr Snowdon added that information technologies are an important tool in “closing the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians”.
Four specific organisations will benefit from the allocation:
- the Nganampa Health Council, based in Umuwa, SA, will receive almost $2 million to upgrade its IT capabilities and trial web-based reporting;
- the Aboriginal Medical Services Association, NT (AMSANT) has been allocated more than $1.5 million to upgrade data collection practices and support its work in advising the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on the development of ICT systems and e-Health initiatives, including Patient Information and Retrieval Systems throughout the Northern Territory;
- the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has been awarded $723,694 in funding to enhance the availability of reports and pilot a health record initiative; and
- the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation in Victoria will receive a one-off payment of $64,091 to assist with the development of an organisation-wide server and the process of consolidating patient information management systems.
The funding of these four organisations will, in turn, support more than fifty Aboriginal health services. It is expected that the funding will help to improve patient safety and health care delivery in Aboriginal communities.
Mr Snowdon says that IT services are already being utilised by the Indigenous health sector and that the increased funding will complement the existing initiatives:
“These organisations all have well-developed IT systems and these grants will enable them to help a number of Aboriginal Medical Services in each of the regions to build upon the momentum they have already achieved in IT activities”.
The funding of IT services in Indigenous communities is part of the wider roll-out of e-Health initiatives throughout the country.
The announcement also follows a $4.42 million allocation in the Victorian State Budget 2010-11 to support the Aboriginal Heritage Information System, a service that promotes efficient management of cultural heritage plans.