PCEHR review panel to consider private sector involvement
The three-person panel established to review the PCEHR has been asked to consider a role for the private sector in the system.
Health Minister Peter Dutton announced yesterday that he had set up a panel to review the system, headed by UnitingCare Queensland executive director Richard Royle, along with AMA president Steve Hambleton and Australia Post CIO Andrew Walduck.
The review panel will invite submissions from the public and from peak clinical bodies.
Mr Dutton said the panel would report back to him by mid-December, after which the government will consider the recommendations and respond.
Mr Dutton said that after a year in operation, “only a fraction of Australians have established a record and for those who have, only a few hundred doctors have added a shared health summary”.
“This defeats the purpose of having a national, electronic system that is meant to help save lives,” he said.
"The government fully supports the concept of electronic health records but it must be fit for purpose and cost effective.”
The panel has been asked to review the implementation and uptake of the PCEHR, and its terms of reference include considering:
- The gaps between the expectations of users and what has been delivered
- The level of consultation with end users during the development phase
- The level of use of the PCEHR by healthcare professions in clinical settings
- Barriers to increasing usage in clinical settings
- Key clinician and patient usability issues
- Work that is still required including new functions that improve the value proposition for clinicians and patients
- Drivers and incentives to increase usage for both industry and health care professionals
- The applicability and potential integration of comparable private sector products
- The future role of the private sector in providing solutions
- The policy settings required to generate private sector solutions.
Dr Hambleton told Pulse+IT recently that the AMA wanted to make sure that clinicians had confidence in the information held within the system, “that it is up date and the most recent health summary is indeed the most recent health summary, making it clinically useful”.
“Unless there is more than a critical mass of accurate accessible clinically relevant information there can be no clinical use,” he said.
Dr Hambleton said he had not personally seen the interfaces to the PCEHR from GP software “but we have suggested that they should be straightforward with a minimum of 'clicks' and should not interfere with normal workflow.”
He said the AMA had no problem with the patient being fully engaged in their own health record.
Dr Hambleton told ABC Radio this morning that the biggest stumbling block with the system was its strategic direction. "We need to refocus this on efficiency, to simplify everybody's lives," he said. "At the moment the focus has been on adding on products to the PCEHR, none of which is going to drive people to use it.
"If we can decrease the search time for information that will make people interested. If we can make it easy to interface with it, with the right software … we can help with the efficiency of the health system and that's the real driver. We absolutely need to get this right."
Mr Royle heads an organisation that is building what it calls the first “fully integrated digital hospital” at Hervey Bay in Queensland. St Stephen's Hospital is due to open next year.
Mr Walduck joined Australia Post in January 2012 and has developed a program to digitise the organisation's operations. He previously worked for Accenture and IBM.
Posted in Australian eHealth