'No plan B' for My Health Record, as registrations near fifth of population

Dr Zoran Bolevich throws support behind opt-out approach

The head of NSW’s digital health agency says there is “no plan B” when it comes to widespread adoption of My Health Record.

Chief executive and chief information officer of eHealth NSW, Dr Zoran Bolevich, said “national collaboration is absolutely critical” to the success of My Health Record, the system formerly known as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).

Bolevich, speaking at the Digital Healthcare conference in Sydney yesterday, said his agency was a big supporter of the Department of Health’s proposal to make My Health Record 'opt-out'.

The opt-out approach, which was first proposed in a 2013 Department of Health review, has been trialled in both the Nepean Blue Mountains and Northern Queensland since June last year.

Around 1 million new My Health Records were automatically created for all people living in the areas, unless they responded in the negative to a letter from the department.

Those trials concluded this year, with only 1.9 per cent of individuals deciding to opt-out — so proving the success of this approach, Bolevich said.

Work by eHealth NSW to share patient pathology results with the My Health Record system was well underway, Bolevich added, with medical image reports and discharge medication information being connected soon.

Record numbers

Nationally the number of people signed up to My Health Record is 4.6m, according to figures shared today by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).

Angela Ryan, the agency’s deputy chief clinical information officer, said that number represented approximately 19 per cent of the Australian population.

Speaking at the Digital Healthcare event this morning, Ryan – who joined ADHA from eHealth NSW six weeks ago – said that of those that had registered, 60 per cent were aged under 39.

“Obviously we’d like to see that figure in the higher ages, given the complexity of chronic disease in those groups,” she said.

Between the states and territories, there was little variance in the proportion of population that had signed up, although Queensland was the stand out at 26 per cent, Ryan added.

More than 9700 health care providers had connected to My Health Record, according to ADHA figures.

“The lion’s share of those have been general practices, but we’re making some headway with public hospitals and health services,” Ryan said.

Health minister Greg Hunt MP – appointed to the role following the resignation of Sussan Ley in January – said earlier this week that My Health Record would help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of healthcare.

Speaking to RN Drive on Tuesday, Hunt said: “The early indications are that the national My Health Record will deliver real benefits to patients, as well as reducing unnecessary costs in the health system. If we can work with the doctors on strengthening the role of that, we can produce better outcomes but also medium to long term savings.”

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Tags Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)My Health Recordaustralian digital health agencyeHealth NSWGreg Huntehealth

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