PCEHR release five planned for May

Despite the current uncertainty over the future of the PCEHR, plans to include new functionality including pathology and diagnostic imaging reports and advance care directives are still going ahead, with a big release expected in May.

Originally planned for this month, release 5 of the PCEHR is apparently still on track, with confidential documents seen by Pulse+IT indicating at least one of the major functions will be available.

The ability to view pathology results and diagnostic imaging reports is considered a deal-breaker in the value of the system to clinicians in particular, but this functionality has been the topic of much disagreement between the system designers and the pathology industry.

According to a clinical safety management activity status report compiled by NEHTA for the independent Clinical Governance Advisory Group (CGAG) and seen by Pulse+IT, a minor release – 4.2 – will be implemented this month that will include corrective fixes for a number of known defects in the system and to address issues identified through production use of the PCEHR.

The report, dated March 19, shows that NEHTA's clinical safety unit is working with the Department of Health on a clinical safety assessment of the anticipated scope of release 5, which in addition to pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports and advance care directives, will also include a health record overview for the provider portal.

However, NEHTA says there are some “constraints” with the information that will be available that may have implications for safety, including variability in test names and in the names of pathology or diagnostic disciplines.

“This will result in the inconsistent representation of pathology and diagnostic imaging report information, requiring clinicians to interpret this variability to ensure safe clinical decision making,” the documents say.

“As the system design matures alongside the availability of nationally agreed codesystems and codesets an opportunity to standardise views and representation of critical clinical information such as medicines and diagnostic information will follow.”

The documents also show that there are concerns over advance care planning information, which NEHTA says has potential hazards.

Additional consultation is required in relation to this functionality, NEHTA says, as is training, education and broad change management activity.

The Northern Territory's My eHealth Record (MeHR) was also scheduled to transfer to the national system in April, but it is unclear whether this is going ahead.

A report of the Royle review into the implementation of the system, delivered to Health Minister Peter Dutton in December, has still not been released. Pulse+IT is lodging an appeal against the refusal by the health department to release the report under Freedom of Information legislation.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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