The Victorian government has teamed-up with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to create a new state-wide computer system for the state’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service.
The $2 million project for the state government aims to build a single, high-quality technology system to improve the efficiency of the MCH service as Victoria experiences a steady climb in its birth rate.
The commissioning of the new system has comes after an assessment by the state’s Auditor-General which identified the need for a better, system-wide process for managing reliable and accurate maternal child health data.
The MAV will begin work on the new system on the back of its Patchwork to pilot; more connected family and youth services project that began in March 2013 and is a technology solution designed to interconnect staff from different agencies who work with common clients.
The big benefit of the new system for government agencies is that they will be able to have better access to basic information about families, especially those who are vulnerable. A big information management problem for services who deal with less affluent or marginalised families is that movement between different local government areas occurs on a frequent basis, increasing repetitive paperwork.
The new system is expected to lighten the administrative load on nurses at child health facilities because it will allow them to simply get on with the job of caring for families with young children.
It will also make child health information easier for professionals to secure, store and track, ensuring records can be easily accessed and updated when these vulnerable families move.
Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said referrals to other professionals will also be made quicker and easier under the new system.
“For many local government areas the new central data management system will replace a group of older systems, enabling them to better monitor children’s health and development needs – and to be able to quickly direct resources to where they are needed most,” Ms Lovell said.
MAV President Bill McArthur said this project is an early part of the Association’s plans for systems development, which he believes can be expanded into other areas where councils deal with vulnerable community members.
“This is a secure data system and a family data system, so it will provide a holistic picture of the needs of a child and its family,” Mr McArthur said.
He said it will give reliable and consistent information and will eliminate the need for people to retell their stories to a number of providers.
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