Nov 23, 2009

E-health can bring $28bn in benefits: business council

A LEADING business lobby group is calling on the federal government to implement a national e-health strategy that would bring benefits of nearly $28 billion in its first eight years.  In a letter sent to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month and released on Monday, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) says using communication technology to improve the flow of health information is key to a more efficient health system.

But the letter from BCA chief executive Katie Lahey says e-health "will require national leadership and commitment to investment in national infrastructure to make it happen".  To make e-health efficient will require both private and public investment, the group argues.

"But before business can begin to invest, state and federal government must commit to making their own investments in the national infrastructure.  "Governments must also commit to invest in connecting public health providers to realise the potential benefits for patients and the sector." A paper supporting the letter estimates e-health benefits of $27.8bn in the first eight years of implementation, outstripping the $6.3bn investment over five years.

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