It's just over two years ago now that the RACGP put its foot down on the continuing use of the fax in general practice, issuing a position paper calling for healthcare services and government agencies that communicate patient information with general practice to cut out the paper and move instead to secure electronic means.
The college had high hopes that this could happen in three years, what with alternative means such as secure messaging already a mature technology. But while progress has been made by the industry to achieve interoperability between secure messaging providers, the fax machines are still there, cranking out as much paper as ever.
Our top story for the week concerns an issue that has been bubbling away for a couple of years now and has raised its head again with the news that the RACGP has agreed to partner with a Canadian vendor called Myca Health to help it survey GP views on practice management systems.
Myca sells a PMS called Hello Health into the US market and is planning on making an advance on the Australian market in future. To do this, it's looking to tailor the existing technology for local requirements, and has entered into an arrangement with the RACGP to get its help in facilitating a conversation between members and Myca on what they'd like to see from a PMS.
It doesn't really reach the heights of Paul Keating's inimitable description of the 1989 national accounts as a “beautiful set of numbers”, but the federal government would be more than pleased with the headline figure of three per cent as the opt-out rate of the My Health Record so far.
Considering the relentless negative press that has accompanied the start of the opt-out period in mid-July, that just under 900,000 people have opted out is a pretty good outcome for the government and its agencies. The opt-out rate in the 2016 trials was 1.9 per cent but the government's own research shows that half the trial population didn't even know what a MyHR was before they got one, so that number is a bit rubbery, and three per cent will be accepted with alacrity.