Secure clinical message delivery: lost in the mail?

This story first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

The PCEHR has consumed much of the government’s eHealth focus, and indeed its budget, in recent years. Despite claims it would deliver “the right information about the right patient at the right time”, in its current state the PCEHR has done little to improve the ability of healthcare providers to communicate between themselves electronically.

Better means of secure electronic communication between healthcare providers has long been a priority, particularly in general practice where the benefits of electronic delivery of diagnostic results have for many years been appreciated by those who remember the paper-based alternatives.

In fact, Pulse+IT’s own research conducted as far back as November 2006 highlighted just how important practices deemed improvements directly related to the reduction of both inbound and outbound paper correspondence.

When asked “What IT/IM innovations are going to make the greatest difference to general practice”, the top four selections as ranked by survey respondents were:

  1. Specialist reports received electronically
  2. Electronic discharge summaries
  3. Ability to send referrals electronically from within the clinical software
  4. Sending electronic prescriptions to a hub to be pulled down by a pharmacist used by the patient.

The seventh- and eighth-ranked responses also related to the electronic transfer of information between healthcare providers.

Notably, given what has and hasn’t transpired in the years since the research was conducted, a PCEHR-like concept described in the survey as a “centralised patient medical record” ranked just tenth on the general practice IT/IM innovation priority list.

To read the full story, click here for the April 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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