Open for comment: DoH and RACGP surveys on PCEHR

The Department of Health has devised an online survey to help gauge opinion on the implementation of the recommendations of the PCEHR review as part of its month-long consultation process.

The consultations, being managed on the department's behalf by Deloitte, will also include a special session at next week's Health Informatics Conference in Melbourne.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is also surveying its members to see which model they prefer for reviewing and uploading pathology and diagnostic imaging reports to the PCEHR, which is scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year.

The department's PCEHR review survey is broken into three groups: healthcare practitioners, consumers and software vendors.

For practitioners, it asks whether they actively access any of their patient's records, and if not, why not. On the latter, practitioners are given the option of stating that the PCEHR is not useful to care delivery, it takes too much time to access and any liability concerns, as well as whether patients don't want them to look the record up.

It asks if the information contained is useful, and what changes practitioners would like to see in the system in order to start using it in a meaningful way.

It also asks what clinical measurements need to be included and what support practitioners need in terms of training to use the system in day-to-day work.

One of the most important recommendations of the Royle review was that the system become opt-out. The survey asks providers their view on the key issues and risks of moving to an opt-out approach, including whether they will remain reluctant to access it because it takes too much time or is not clinically relevant.

They are also asked what they would do if a patient demanded that a shared health summary be uploaded, including an option to refuse the patient's request.

For consumers, it asks if they have a PCEHR and if so why. If an opt-out model was introduced, it asks how consumers would expect to hear about it and the preferred method for opting out. It also asks what type of information they feel they would need and where to access it, with options including online, printed leaflets or advertising in general practices and hospitals.

For medical software vendors, it covers questions such as the effect on them and their products if an opt-out model was chosen, whether opt-out would make vendors more likely to integrate with the system, and what level of effect the inclusion of extra functionality such as pathology reports will have.

It also asks whether vendors think medical software should comply with eHealth specifications and standards.

The survey is available online until September 1.

The RACGP's survey asks members for their views on three models being put forward to include pathology and radiology reports on the PCEHR system. The department held meetings in Melbourne recently to update interested parties on progress and to try to come to a consensus on the best way that reports should be uploaded.

Options in the RACGP survey include the requesting doctor reviewing any results and then sending a simple authorisation message (authority to post) to the path lab or imaging provider to upload the report from their system.

Option two involves the pathology lab uploading the results at the same time as they are sent to the requesting doctor, and option three involves the lab uploading the results after a fixed number of days, during which the requesting doctor can send a message to stop the automatic upload.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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