Contractors hired for PCEHR but Medicare Locals not happy
The Department of Health and Ageing has confirmed that staff from health services organisation Aspen Medical have been deployed to over 250 healthcare sites including hospital lobbies and outpatient clinics to conduct consumer awareness activities and assisted registration for the PCEHR.
Aspen Medical has been subcontracted by the PCEHR national change and adoption partner, McKinsey & Co, to work in a number of different settings, including aged care, hospital outpatients, immunisation clinics and Aboriginal medical services.
DoHA assistant secretary Rosemary Huxtable told a Senate Estimates committee hearing in Canberra last night that while she would have to check the exact date of when the Aspen staff began to be deployed, they have been contracted until June 30.
Using Aspen Medical staff to sign up consumers was piloted at the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service in Canberra earlier this year, before the release of an electronic assisted registration tool (ART) in February.
However, Pulse+IT understands that the contract has angered some Medicare Locals, which have also been assisting general practices, hospitals and aged care facilities to raise consumer awareness of the system.
Medicare Locals have been funded to carry out awareness among both practitioners and patients, and it is understood they have certain key performance indicators covering consumer registration that they must reach.
In a letter sent to Medicare Locals in April, DoHA's first assistant secretary for eHealth change and adoption, Linda Powell, wrote that the new assisted registration “channel” was being supported by a dedicated workforce from Aspen and the idea was not to duplicate the work that Medicare Locals were already doing.
“The use of the Aspen workforce will build on the existing Medicare Locals' change and adoption plans,” Ms Powell wrote. “To this end we will work collaboratively with Medicare Locals ensuring no duplication occurs.”
Pulse+IT understands that despite this assurance, many instances of duplication have occurred, with Aspen Medical setting up eHealth assisted registration sessions in the lobbies of public hospitals that Medicare Locals are targeting.
Ms Huxtable told the Senate committee that Aspen is deployed in around 50 hospitals and 200 additional settings including Aboriginal medical services, aged care facilities, immunisation clinics, GP surgeries and Medicare offices.
Asked if the Aspen workforce had certain targets they had to meet, Ms Huxtable said “a target had been set for how many registrations Aspen can achieve, in addition to the other registration channels currently available”.
“Their expectation is around 150,000 registrations by the 30th of June and I think we are on track to exceed that,” she said.
Pulse+IT also understands that a TV advertising campaign for the PCEHR has been devised and is planned to begin shortly, but despite repeated requests for more information, DoHA would not comment.
Posted in Australian eHealth