RACGP to kick-start general practice IT strategy through eHealth forum

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is holding an eHealth forum this week in Melbourne in a bid to set a new agenda for general practice IT and information management (IM).

Organised by the college's newly formed RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth and Practice Systems (REC-eHPS), the forum aims to kick-start discussions on the future path for primary care eHealth after years in which the national eHealth agenda has dominated.

Committee chair Nathan Pinskier said the college had in the past held RACGP computer conferences that in the 1980s and 1990s attracted hundreds of delegates. While there has been an eHealth standing committee for many years and eHealth has been high on the college's agenda, Dr Pinskier said it was time to refocus on the future of eHealth and health IT/IM in general practice.

“I have the view and I think this is supported by the committee that we have probably spent the last four or five years chasing our tails to some extent, trying to respond to the national agenda as opposed to developing a strategy for general practice eHealth or IT/IM,” Dr Pinskier said.

“There are lots of competing and conflicting interests but probably what hasn't happened as a consequence is a focus on the college's requirements around workflow, standards and usability.

“I personally think this is an opportunity to take a proactive, forward-looking stance. Let's get a whole lot of experts in a room together, let them present on where they see the current environment, or what their organisation is doing, and then focus on developing a strategy for the new RACGP expert committee.”

The college has focused on desktop software usability and workflow improvements through the Optimus project, which it ran in association with the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA). MSIA president Emma Hossack will attend the forum, along with representatives from the federal and Victorian departments of health and human services, along with Primary Health Network (PHN) representatives and consumer groups.

RACGP president Frank Jones and eHealth luminaries such as Mukesh Haikerwal will also be in attendance.

Dr Pinskier said the forum would provide the opportunity to develop a strategy for the next three years. “I usually hate three-year plans but this is more about getting on the same page and having a shared culture in the college committee and articulating that out through to the membership.

“We'll have a college-only afternoon session to discuss what is doable and what is aspirational and that will become a course of action going forward.”

The new REC-eHPS includes a number of well-known GPs with an interest in IT including Oliver Frank and Steven Kaye, former NEHTA clinical leads Trina Gregory, Rob Hosking and Chris Mitchell, and Hatrix/MedChart co-founder John Ainge.

It also includes consumer eHealth advocate Melissa Cadzow and Australian Association of Practice Management representative Jan Chaffey.

The forum is being held on Thursday, October 29, at the RACGP's head office in Melbourne. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Posted in Australian eHealth


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