Practitioners can assist patients to register for a PCEHR

Written by Kate McDonald on .

The federal government has published the rules under which healthcare providers can assist their patients to register for a PCEHR.

The rules are aimed at encouraging vulnerable consumers such as the elderly and those with chronic illnesses to register for a PCEHR and share their healthcare information with a range of healthcare providers.

Consumers can currently register online, by telephone or in person, but according to explanatory notes published by the government, the assisted registration process will encourage target demographics such as people in aged care who are more likely to apply to register with the support of their healthcare provider.

Nurses and employees of authorised organisations will be able to assist their patients through the registration process as well as the patient's doctor, as long as they are employed by a registered healthcare provider organisation.

The healthcare provider will need to find the patient's individual healthcare identifier (IHI) and verify the patient's identity. They must also record the patient's written consent to have a PCEHR created and documents uploaded to it, and either store that written consent for three years or send it to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) for retention.

The explanatory notes say electronic and paper forms are being designed for the assisted registration process.

One subsection of the rules states that healthcare providers must inform patients that they can apply on their own. “This rule is intended to address circumstances where healthcare provider organisations may choose to charge a consumer for providing assisted registration,” the notes state.

“The organisation will be unable to impose a charge under Medicare, however it may impose a charge outside Medicare for services they perform. This is a business decision of the organisation.”

Organisations that provide assisted registration must also implement a policy that includes a framework for identifying whether a patient is a “known customer” to the organisation. DoHA is preparing guidance on identifying consumers to inform this policy, which will be published online.

The explanatory notes state that DoHA undertook consultations throughout September and October this year with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, NEHTA, the lead eHealth sites, healthcare providers, consumer organisations, indemnity insurers and IT vendors on the proposed model for assisted registration.

More information has been requested from the Department of Health and Ageing.

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