NEHTA reveals PCEHR and eHealth uptake data

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has released a scorecard showing the adoption of the PCEHR and other eHealth foundations amongst general practice, community pharmacy, aged and acute care and the wider community.

The scorecard (PDF) data is limited to information available to NEHTA and is only available up to July.

It covers readiness, adoption and meaningful use data for general practice, community pharmacy and consumers.

The data shows that as at July 10, there were 3723 general and multidisciplinary practices registered in the PCEHR system, which NEHTA says covers an estimated 53 per cent of total general practices in Australia.

Software with secure message delivery (SMD) capability has been deployed to 38 general practices along with two specialist and three allied health practices, although this is understood to have increased significantly due to the deadlines for the ePIP.

NEHTA only has data on shared health summary uploads up to July 31, of 4585. Pulse+IT understands this is now well over the 5000 mark.

Data on the actual meaningful use of the PCEHR system is not yet available to NEHTA, the report states, although the organisation has requested that DoHA makes the data available for reporting.

NEHTA has devised a graph showing which types of healthcare organisations have registered in the PCEHR system up to July 10, including:

  • 72 Aboriginal Medical Services
  • 7 aged care facilities
  • 47 allied health
  • 70 community health centre
  • 271 community pharmacy
  • 3723 general practice
  • 50 Medicare Local/State/Territory or Area Health Service
  • 3 private hospitals
  • 8 public hospitals
  • 73 specialists
  • 175 other or unknown

The report states that activity in the community pharmacy sector remains “at a moderate level”. Two pharmacy software vendors – Fred IT and Simple – have released PCEHR-compatible systems, which NEHTA estimates covers about 65 per cent of the market.

The majority of the pharmacies registered in the system are those taking part in the Medview/National Prescription and Dispense Repository (NPDR) project. The figures show that as at July 31, 6640 dispense notifications were uploaded to the NPDR.

Intriguingly, NEHTA states that it understands that the Pharmacy Guild has advised pharmacies not involved in the Wave 1 and 2 sites against signing the participation agreement “until systems are in place to allow individual users to be identified”.

More information on the guild's position has been requested by Pulse+IT.

NEHTA's figures show that the volume of ePrescriptions being downloaded from the two prescription exchange services, eRx and MediSecure, are trending up, although not at the volume that they are being uploaded by GPs.

In May, for example, about 6.5 million prescriptions were uploaded to eRx or MediSecure but just over one million were downloaded by pharmacists.

“The participation of community pharmacy in eHealth is crucial to realise benefits relating to improved medication management and quality use of medicines,” the NEHTA report states.

“The low level of adoption amongst pharmacies when compared to general practice potentially warrants further change and adoption focus, especially in light of the policy stance of the Pharmacy Guild.”

In terms of the acute care sector, the figures show that as of July 31, 701 discharge summaries had been uploaded to the PCEHR, the vast bulk of them from St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, which has had the capability since last year.

The others came from Calvary Hospital in the ACT and six from South Australian hospitals. In August, SA Health announced that nine of its hospitals were now uploading discharge summaries to the PCEHRs of patients who were registered for one.

The data also shows that the volume of unique providers actually interacting with the system was growing. For the final week of available data, that of July 24 to 30, 500 unique transactions were registered with 200 documents uploaded.

In terms of consumers registering for the system, NEHTA's figures of 612,391 have since been superseded. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said this week that more than 800,000 people were registered.

NEHTA's figures show that many of the most recent registrations were done through the assisted registration process that has been funded by DoHA and carried out by Aspen Medical staff. Funding for this process is due to cease this month.

“It remains to be seen whether the high registration rate can be sustained after the Aspen assisted registration program finishes,” the report states.

The ACT and Tasmania show the highest percentages of their respective populations as registered, with WA the lowest. Pulse+IT understands that general practice involvement in the PCEHR system in WA is also quite low.

In total, approximately 2.7 per cent of the Australian population has now registered, up from an estimated 0.8 per cent on May 31.

“The Departmental milestone of 500,000 registrations by July 2013 has been reached and exceeded," the report states.

“The 31st July tally of 612,391 means that we are well over a third of the way toward the target of 1.5 million set for the end of the 2013/14 financial year. Moreover, the registration rate compares very favourably to international benchmarks ...

“Of note is the significant difference in registration rates between males and females: 57% are female and only 43% male. The reasons for this difference are unclear, but it potentially relates to a focus of adoption activities on mothers and their babies/children.”

NEHTA reports that over 5000 people have downloaded the Child eHealth Record (CeHR) app since it was launched in June, with over 1750 CeHR documents uploaded by consumers.

“Meaningful use by consumers appears to remain at a low level, and detailed data is not yet available to NEHTA,” the reports states.

“The number of consumer portal accesses lags the total number of registrations, indicating that not all consumers are interacting with the PCEHR System after they have registered.

“By comparison, the frequency of accessing via the mobile gateway, which has been accessed 81,733 times since 12 May 2013, is very high relative to the number of CeHR apps that have been downloaded.

“This would seem to indicate that the mobile channel is capable of driving relatively high engagement.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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