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Safe Software A Must For Doctors

Uniform national standards must be set for clinical software used by doctors, AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today. //

The use of clinical software packages is expanding rapidly in Australia but the lack of national functional specification standards and the lack of standardised testing of clinical software may create potential risks to quality and safety.

'The AMA is calling for a national regulatory framework to standardise and govern the use of clinical software in medical practice,' Dr Haikerwal said.

'We believe this is necessary to reduce potential risks and improve quality and safety related to the use of information technology by doctors.

'It is also essential that data captured within computerised systems is not lost during technology upgrades or during the wind-up of a company.

'Clinical software is increasingly integral to the way in which doctors manage their patients, and therefore it's vital that the profession has the confidence that the software they are using is designed properly to do the right job, every time – and that the information contained within it is protected from external access and internal corruption.'

In its new Position Statement on Safety and Quality of E-Health Systems, the AMA Federal Council has called for the Government to consult with the health care sector and IT industry in setting standards for clinical software.

'A regulatory framework will create an important industry standard for clinical software and interoperability, will enhance take-up and use of electronic information and communications systems in the health sector, and will improve the quality and safety of patient care,' Dr Haikerwal said.

'This would allow purchasers of clinical software to assess its suitability for their particular needs and give doctors and patients confidence that clinical software is safe, secure, and of the highest quality.'

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