AMA rejects link between PCEHR meaningful use and ePIP

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has rejected the government's attempt to link eligibility for the eHealth Practice Incentives Program (ePIP) payment to meaningful use of the PCEHR.

Echoing similar arguments made by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in its submission on the Department of Health's ePIP discussion paper, the AMA said in its submission that the ePIP was a practice-level payment, not one made to individual practitioners, and that a better way to encourage GPs to participate in the system is to remunerate them through an MBS item or a Service Incentive Payment (SIP).

However, before any of those measures were contemplated, the fundamental issues with the design of the PCEHR must be fully addressed, according to the submission.

“The AMA has long argued for appropriate financial support to encourage GPs to take up the electronic health record,” it says. “However, we do not agree that the PIP e-Health incentive is fit for this purpose.

“Contrary to the government’s policy intent, it will not encourage GPs to make active and meaningful use of the My Health Record (MyHR). There are fundamental issues with the design of the MyHR that are yet to be fully addressed as well as more relevant funding avenues that could be utilised to much better effect.”

The AMA listed among the numerous problems with the PCEHR the fact that patients can remove information from view, which the organisation claims makes it potentially of no clinical value.

Radiology and pathology reports are still not able to be uploaded, and most consumers don't yet have a PCEHR and are unlikely to under opt-in arrangements.

“Until these problems have been rectified MyHR is neither a meaningful or functional tool, and it is unreasonable to expect GPs to actively use it,” the AMA says.

“If the MyHR is easy for practitioners to utilise, the information it contains is reliable, the system and record transparently interoperable, and practitioners can quickly and clearly recognise how it will enhance patient care then they will readily engage with it.

“However, we know that the MyHR is none of these things and using the PIP incentive to try and mandate use of the MyHR will not solve this.”

The organisation recommended that the ePIP instead be focused on supporting other eHealth technologies, and that any changes to the eligibility criteria for the ePIP be put off until after the outcomes of trials of opt-out methods of enrolment are known.

The other four ePIP criteria should remain the same, although more support is needed to encourage allied health, specialists and hospitals to use secure messaging, the AMA said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: PCEHR, AMA, My Health Record, ePIP

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