Patients who opt into the system will be able to view their PCEHR from their bedside, and also allow designated health professionals access to that record. Meanwhile the hospitals' own records will also be available to clinicians from the bedside.
The touchscreen devices, many of which have been supplied to Telstra by IBM, have 17 inch screens and run Windows 7. The optional entertainment services will cost $6-$18 a day. Some patients - for example those in paediatric and oncology wards - will be exempted from the fee for a basic entertainment package.
The rollout of the computers is starting next week and expected to be completed in 12 hospitals by next August.
In a media release Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips said as a result of the rollout health care workers would have improved access to medical and patient information when new clinical applications come online at the end of 2012.
'The computers will improve safety - for example, clinicians will be able order tests and medication directly, reducing the risk of errors with the traditional handwritten approach,' Professor Phillips said. 'The bedside computers will also enable clinicians to show the patient relevant health information, X-rays and test results on-screen at the patient's bedside.'