E-health blueprint needs 'fine tuning': Industry

The finalised Concept of Operations document still lacks answers to all the issues raised by the RACGP, according to the organisation

The Federal Government’s finalised Concept of Operations on its $466.7 million Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project still needs “fine tuning”, according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

The document (PDF), released earlier this week, finalised details put forward in the draft report issued in April this year.

RACGP National Standing Committee on e-health chairperson, Dr John Bennett, said despite the document failing to address all the issues previously raised by the college, it was important that stakeholders “join forces” to ensure the rollout is completed by July 2012.

“The RACGP is pleased that the final plan for the PCEHR has been released and whilst not all our previously raised issues have been addressed, it is important that Australia gets underway with the implementation of the PCEHR,” Bennet said in a statement.

“The Government’s final PCEHR plan has taken on board most of the RACGP’s concerns that were in our response to the draft plan, including our recommendation that emergency access will be provided to the full record where required, and that this is supported by a full audit trail so patients can see who has accessed their record.”

However the college did raise concerns that the current plan still lacks any incentives for GPs and urged the government to consider how the extra effort required by GPs will be acknowledged.

“We would like to see amendments to the Medicare Benefits Schedule to recognise the additional workload GPs will undertake in consultations initiating and maintaining the patient’s shared health summary and other elements of the PCEHR.”

According to Bennett, the document also provided much needed clarification around the legal responsibility and liability for a healthcare provider regarding a review of all patient entered information, but some aspects still needed reworking.

“As highlighted in previous College submissions, we would have preferred to have a default option of the patient’s usual GP being the nominated healthcare provider,” he said. “However, the College acknowledges that in some very remote areas without full-time general practice services, this role is best filled by a healthcare provider other than a GP.”

The project still garnered the college’s full support, Bennett said, with the potential to improve preventive health and health maintenance and support emergency and out-of-hours care.

“In July 2012, people in Australia will be able to register for a PCEHR, which is an exciting and challenging opportunity for patients and healthcare professionals.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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Tags Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)PCEHRe-health

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