Pulse+IT Poll: May 2 - ePIP to flop?

With new ePIP requirements coming into play from the start of May, this week Pulse+IT posed the following question:

If you are a GP or practice manager, will your practice meet the new ePIP requirements?

The results as at COB on Friday, May 6 were as follows:

If you are a GP or practice manager, will your practice meet the new ePIP requirements?
Edition Yes No We’ll claim ePIP but are unlikely to upload to the My Health Record (PCEHR) Total
Monday 7 (35%) 2 (10%) 11 (55%) 20
Tuesday 23 (39%) 4 (7%) 32 (54%) 59
Wednesday 6 (33%) 3 (17%) 9 (50%) 18
Thursday 13 (34%) 7 (18%) 18 (47%) 38
Friday 5 (33%) 1 (7%) 9 (60%) 15
Total 54 (36%) 17 (11%) 79 (53%) 150

This week's poll was directed at general practice to coincide with the commencement of new eHealth practice incentives program (ePIP) requirements. Just one of the five requirements has been updated, but respondents are clearly unhappy with the prospect of uploading shared health summaries to the My Health Record system.

Requirement five - The My Health Record System states the practice must:

  1. Use compliant software for accessing the My Health Record system, and creating and posting shared health summaries and event summaries;
  2. Apply to participate in the My Health Record system upon obtaining a HPI–O; and
  3. Upload a shared health summary for a minimum of 0.5% of the practice’s standardised whole patient equivalent (SWPE) count of patients per PIP payment quarter.

Despite the funds available to practices that apply for the ePIP, just 36 per cent of respondents indicated they would comply with the new requirements.

A much lesser number of people stated they would not meet the new ePIP requirements (11 per cent), with the majority of respondents (53 per cent) seemingly hoping to take the money and ignore the ePIP's last requirement altogether.

So what to make of these results?

With this poll's small sample size it's impossible to extrapolate the prospects that lie ahead for the troubled government health record system, which has now been in operation for nearly four years. While financial incentives can only help boost the oft-touted activity metrics, it has long been my view that the ePIP is precisely the wrong incentive structure to fund activity relating to the My Health Record. Even the Department of Health, which took three years to come up with just one change to the ePIP requirements, seems skeptical; despite the funds on offer, the target of just 0.5% of practice SWPE uploads speaks volumes about their expectations.

Practice owners - the beneficiaries of the PIP - represent a minority of the number of GPs that are expected to interact with the system. Are salaried GPs expected to peform additional work - of as yet unproven clinical value - in support of a government program out of the goodness of their hearts?

Against the backdrop of GPs being told yet again that patient MBS rebates would be an inflation-free zone, the timing of the introduction of the new ePIP requirements couldn't be worse.

This week's Pulse+IT Poll question is: If you treat patients, do you use a smartphone or tablet for any clinical purpose? Subscribe to Pulse+IT's free eNewsletter service if you haven't already, and cast your vote.

If you have any suggestions for future Pulse+IT Polls, feel free to post these in the comments section below or submit a tip.

Tags: PCEHR, My Health Record, ePIP, Pulse+IT Poll

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