It has been a bit quiet on the health IT front recently but things were enlivened somewhat this week with another eruption of the ongoing turf war between doctors and pharmacists. No sooner had a brief announcement of a partnership between health insurer Bupa and the newly merged TerryWhite Chemmart been released than the AMA decided to arc up, thundering about how it threatened the very foundations of general practice.
It's doubtful that there's really much cause for concern over a vague agreement on reducing some costs for medications and supplies for Bupa health fund members, combined with a bit of encouragement to take part in in-pharmacy health screening programs pharmacies and the promise of a dinky new health app, but the AMA let fly nonetheless.
In a nice bit of timing, Pulse+IT asked readers in our poll last week whether, following Greg Hunt's ill-advised comment that he could guarantee the My Health Record won't be hacked, you thought health data security could ever be guaranteed. Nope, the vast majority of you said, and just as well as more details emerged about the ransomware attack on the Melbourne Heart Group cardiology practice in January.
The Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health put on a brave face at Senate Estimates this week when they popped up yet again to be interrogated about the My Health Record. A couple of hours earlier ADHA had quietly released details on the number of people who had opted out of the system, and at 9.9 per cent of the eligible population, representing about 2.5 million people, it was not a figure they seemed keen on shouting from the rooftops.
Their defence of the number seems to have changed as well. Asked how the figure of 9.9 per cent opting out compared to international experience, ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey told Senate Estimates that as Australia was leading the world with a system that provides patients with control over their record, there was nothing really to compare it to.