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WA contract strengthens Telstra’s grip on eHealth

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Topics: Digital Transformation; WA.

Telstra’s presence in Australia’s digital health market continues to grow, with the company securing a $10 million contract with the Western Australian Government to implement a new information system for use in regional health centres and practices.

Functioning as a single electronic clinical record to streamline healthcare delivery in regional areas, the new solution will “drive continuity of care for highly mobile clients in rural areas”, a WA Country Health spokesperson told intermedium. It will also provide the basis for evidence-based resource allocation and service planning, and enable clinicians to track high-risk and high-need clients, such as children.

Based on Telstra’s Communicare solution, the new Community Health Information System will integrate with all WA Department of Health systems, and interface with the Federal Government’s My Health Record system, allowing patients to access and manage their personal health information even if they move interstate.

Designed specifically for use in remote communities, Telstra’s Communicare solution includes data synchronisation for working offline when out of service, which will assist WA to deliver on its close the gap targets.

"The long-term aim is to help close the gap in health outcomes between regional and city residents. An important aspect will be the information system's capacity to monitor clinical and practice reforms and thereby promote continuous improvement," said Health Minister John Day in a press statement.

Day said the system would first be introduced in the Kimberley region in May 2017 before being rolled out to the remaining six WA Country Health Service regions.

The contract for the new system will be funded through the Royalties for Regions program, which was established in 2008 to invest in infrastructure and services to benefit regional WA. The state government has also recently announced a $22 million fund as part of the program to improve agricultural telecommunications systems using innovative technologies.

Telstra’s eHealth push began with a number of acquisitions and partnerships in 2013, including with Fred IT, HealthConnex, and Health Engine, before establishing Telstra Health in October 2014. Telstra Health has since acquired a number of other firms, including Dr Foster and CloudMed.

Telstra’s CEO Andrew Penn has also pitched Telstra Health as an area of growth for the company.

“In addition to investing in our core businesses, we continue to pursue new growth opportunities in areas that leverage our core strengths. This includes investments in Telstra Media, Telstra Health, Telstra Software and Telstra Ventures. We are focused on growing these businesses to scale sooner”, he said at a briefing in February 2016.

In May 2016, Telstra secured its first major federal eHealth contract, winning a $220 million contract with the Department of Health for the provision of a new National Cancer Screening Register to replace current state and territory registers for cervical and bowel cancer.

Telstra has also developed and installed South Australia’s $422 million state-wide Enterprise Patient Administration System, which delivers the state-wide electronic health record. It has also partnered with the Northern Territory Government to build a National Telehealth Connection Service, and was recently shortlisted as one of four possible suppliers to implement its new clinical management system – a central component of the $189 million Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program (CCSRP).

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