eHealth is one of the most critical elements of health reform in Australia. eHealth will not only improve information sharing and transparency, but also help ensure better patient care, improve collegiate ties, enhance patient satisfaction and – ultimately – save lives.

It is also an area of significant investment. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing (the Department) is currently progressing key actions to underpin the Government’s eHealth agenda, including the Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service), which commenced operations on 1 July 2010, as well as investing $466.7 million over two years from July 2010 to establish a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system.

Proposals to develop a PCEHR system are predicated on the eHealth readiness of key populations of health professionals, including medical specialists and allied health practitioners, to provide quality healthcare along the continuum of care in the primary and ambulatory care sectors. An area that is consistently overlooked in eHealth experiences overseas is the importance of clinical engagement and clarity on the potential for eHealth in medical uses. Obtaining a better understanding of eHealth readiness is the first step towards strong clinical engagement.

To further this goal, the Department has commissioned McKinsey & Company to undertake an objective assessment of the allied health sector's eHealth readiness.

This report aims to inform clinical engagement in eHealth-enabled, patient-centred care. In addition, it aims to benchmark the penetration of equipment and technology use in this sector (e.g. connectivity, hardware, software, platforms), the mindsets and behaviours of allied health practitioners towards eHealth adoption and usage, and the barriers and drivers for allied health practitioners to participate in future national eHealth initiatives. Each of these is a critical component in ensuring the long-term success of Australia’s eHealth agenda.

We hope this report is useful in achieving these objectives, and are proud to present it to the Department.

Charlie Taylor
McKinsey & Company

David Champeaux
McKinsey & Company

Damien Bruce
Associate Principal
McKinsey & Company