RACGP not happy with lack of representation on ACeH committee

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says it is disappointed that there is no direct college representative on the steering committee overseeing the implementation of the new Australian Commission for eHealth (ACeH).

While there are three doctors on the committee – former AMA president and current NEHTA chair Steve Hambleton, Queensland GP Ewen McPhee and Melbourne's Chris Pearce – they have been appointed as individuals rather than on behalf of the college.

“As the peak representative body for 31,500 GPs and with a history of being at the forefront of innovation, standards and education in the health sector, to be excluded from this taskforce is regrettable and reflects a non-collaborative approach,” RACGP president Frank R Jones said.

“I do acknowledge there are clinician representatives on the committee, however they have been appointed in a personal professional capacity and not as a representative voice of the RACGP.

“The failure to formally engage with key stakeholder organisations regarding the future of eHealth and its modus operandi in Australia is of concern yet again.”

The college has taken an increasingly firm stand on the role of GPs in eHealth decision-making, this week issuing a strongly worded response to the Department of Health's discussion paper on proposed changes to the eHealth Practice Incentives Program (ePIP) payment.

Dr Jones said that the college supports the concept of a national shared electronic health record system and welcomed the government's commitment in the 2015-16 budget to strengthen the national eHealth system.

However, Dr Jones said there are still significant problems with the design and functionality of the PCEHR, soon to be renamed the My Health Record (MyHR).

“These require meaningful engagement between the federal government and general practice if it is to be a success and to drive adoption amongst GPs, who will be the main users of the system,” Dr Jones said.

“The RACGP sees the role of the ACeH as providing streamlined governance and accountability for all eHealth product design and release.

“The new commission must have appropriate governance and key health sector stakeholder representation, including the RACGP.”

The college's new expert committee on eHealth and practice systems (REC-eHPS) is holding an eHealth forum at the end of the month to explore eHealth developments.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: PCEHR, NEHTA, RACGP, My Health Record, ePIP, ACeH

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