Directions for mental health cannot be considered in isolation of other developments occurring in Australia to strengthen a national approach to health information. Of particular significance are the following initiatives:
- The establishment by Australian Health Ministers in late 2003 of new governance arrangements to facilitate coordination between jurisdictions in all areas of health information development. The Australian Health Information Council and the National Health Information Group were created as the new peak bodies to assist in transcending jurisdictional boundaries and take Australia forward in achieving common solutions to shared problems.
- Within these new arrangements, continuation of the Health Information Action Plan for Australia, initiated under the Health Online program, which is designed to advance the use of online technology and related innovations to develop new ways of delivering health services.
- Continuation of national collaboration, through the HealthConnect program, toward an interconnected health system and electronic health records, where information is shared at the clinical 'coalface' in a way that promotes integrated care to benefit the consumer.
- The recent agreement by Australian Health Ministers to create a new national entity (the National E-Health Transition Authority) to accelerate development of information and communications technology infrastructure throughout the health system.
- Ongoing work coordinated through the National Health Information Group in relation to the use of unique patient identifiers and record linkage, along with development of appropriate privacy and security safeguards.
- The establishment of the Australian Council on Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2001, which has set new requirements for national information to be compiled and used for the purpose of improving the quality of health care.
- The National Public Health Information Development Plan prepared by the National Public Health Partnership, which sets priorities for information about population health and related areas.