PCEHR registrations: the facts and figures
The Department of Health and Ageing has clarified the exact number of healthcare organisations that have registered for the PCEHR, emphasising that healthcare practitioners do not have to sign up individually to the system.
A DoHA spokeswoman said that as of midnight on February 17, 1233 healthcare organisations had registered for the PCEHR. The department does not keep figures on how many practitioners work for those organisations.
The federal opposition has been tying practitioner participation numbers to the amount of practitioners registered with the Australian Healthcare Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Opposition spokesman on primary care Dr Andrew Southcott criticised the number of practitioner “registrations” in Fairfax and News Ltd publications on the weekend, saying that less than one per cent of the 560,000 AHPRA registered practitioners have signed up to the PCEHR.
“Individual healthcare providers do not have to register for PCEHR,” the DoHA spokeswoman said. “They are covered by their healthcare organisation registration.
“To register for the PCEHR a healthcare organisation must first register with the HI Service. There are currently 3205 healthcare organisations registered with the HI service.”
Organisations must also apply for a Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) to take part in the system.
The spokeswoman said that at February 1, the Department of Human Services (DHS) had received 5400 HPI-O applications across all practice types.
“As at 8 February 2013, DHS has assigned 3857 HPI-Os with a major proportion of these being general practices,” she said.
Healthcare organisations must also have a National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) security certificate to access the system once registered. The spokeswoman said 1205 organisations have been issued NASH certificates, but no figures are kept on whether these are from general practice or other provider organisations.
“NASH applications do not require the practice type to be included on the application. Therefore, we are unable to provide the number of applications from a general practice for a NASH certificate.”
Sources have told Pulse+IT that processing times for HPI-O and NASH certificate applications have been slow, with many practices yet to receive responses from DHS. There have also been numerous complaints that the paperwork required to register for the system is too onerous.
The spokeswoman said applications are processed as they are received. “However, some of the applications received do not contain all the required information,” she said.
“DHS staff phone the applicants to request the information required, therefore the expected timeframe to process applications is dependent on receiving the necessary information from the applicant in a timely manner.”
An industry source who recently received the practice's NASH certificate a month after applying for one said that "if the registration process wasn't so complex, the paperwork may well have been completed properly".
DoHA representatives told a Senate Estimates committee hearing last week that 56,761 consumers had registered for a PCEHR, far below the estimate of 500,000 the department expected based on international experience.
DoHA deputy secretary Rosemary Huxtable told the hearing that with PCEHR-compatible general practice software now being widely rolled out, she expected consumer numbers to increase.
Posted in Australian eHealth