We must admit that yesterday's announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it had launched legal action against health IT firm HealthEngine was a bit of a surprise, coming as it does over a year after the online booking service was thoroughly roasted in the media for its decision to edit or delete patient reviews of practices on its site.
The main surprise was with the consumer watchdog showing a bit of bite when we thought it was due a new set of dentures. However, the ACCC recently wrapped up an inquiry into digital platforms and is keen to see consent and notification requirements under the Privacy Act strengthened, and HealthEngine may just have found itself a case study.
It has been years in the making and has suffered several unexpected delays, but the Department of Health's bright and shiny new general practice quality improvement incentive (PIP QI) arrived this week, and was promptly met with a chorus of disapproval from GPs.
The PIP, which replaces a handful of others and requires general practices to send quarterly reports to their primary health network (PHN) on the proportion of patients with 10 different clinical indicators, is worth the not insubstantial sum of up to $50,000 a year to practices.
There was interesting anecdote in one of the public submissions to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the operation and management of Sydney's Northern Beaches Hospital, a selection of which can be found here and which include a mixture of criticism of the hospital, praise for the hospital, a bit of 'insular peninsula' whinging, and the odd suspect wearing a tinfoil hat.
One patient, who had nothing but praise for the medical and nursing staff even while recounting how one of them had allegedly punctured her artery, mentioned in passing that she had expected, now that the My Health Record was available to her, that her medical record would therefore be available to her clinicians.