PCEHR exposes more examples of PBS errors

Two more instances of incorrect PBS data appearing on individuals' PCEHRs have been reported, including one example in which a drug that was not even dispensed has been added.

As with this reporter's recent experiences with incorrect PBS information, in both cases the errors have only come to light once they appeared on the PCEHR and both seem to originate from pharmacy or prescriber error and were not caused by the operation of the PCEHR itself.

Pulse+IT has been contacted by two people who have registered for a PCEHR and have noticed anomalies with PBS data.

For one reader, there were several instances of double entries of dispensed medications. The reader said the medications were dispensed correctly but it appears the pharmacist has claimed for them twice.

In a very puzzling case, another reader has noticed an entry in the PBS data section of his PCEHR for a medication that was prescribed by his doctor but which he never had filled.

Exactly how a PBS claim was made for a drug that was never dispensed is perplexing, the reader said.

“A doctor may have prescribed me a [drug] but I never went and had the script filled by the pharmacy so have been a bit perplexed on how the pharmacy actually dispensed it and how the information made it into my PCEHR,” he said.

Several industry sources have raised the issue of whether PBS data should be removed from the PCEHR entirely as there are concerns over its accuracy.

Melbourne GP and former NEHTA clinical lead Mukesh Haikerwal recently told Pulse+IT that the issue was one he had wanted to pursue as part of his plans to have a steering group oversee NEHTA's clinical usability program (CUP).

Interviewed before his recent resignation from NEHTA, Dr Haikerwal said my experience was a “perfect example” of how the PCEHR could to be improved.

“Medicare made [PBS data] a clinical tool by joining it to the eHealth record,” he said. “I personally use the information on there to verify medications with my patients. There is some rigour needed.”

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), which conducted an independent review of the incident as part of its PCEHR clinical governance program, was unable to make a recommendation on whether the PCEHR system operator should consider removing PBS data, as mine was the only incident that had been properly reported.

The commission found that in response to the incident, the Department of Health and Ageing's incident management framework and response plan had operated as intended and that the incident was not caused by the operation of the PCEHR itself.

However, in its findings the commission did make mention of the fact that it is the consumer who must do most of the legwork in rectifying any error. It made mention that “consumers may not have the capacity, resources or may be unwilling to contact healthcare providers with issues relating to their PCEHR”.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has advised that if incorrect information does appear on a PCEHR, it can be removed from view until the error is rectified. Readers are encouraged to call the PCEHR helpline on 1800 723 471 in the first instance.

Posted in Australian eHealth


0 # Phil 2013-08-27 16:12
As Dr Haikerwal says "use the PBS information to verify medications with your patients."

But don't assume it is wrong as patients can forget they had meds dispensed or could be shopping for medications. The PCEHR only presents the information but a human must interpret it!

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