PCEHR roll out will be a slow process: Plibersek

The PCEHR will have a gradual roll out and the launch date of July 1 is just the first step, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

Addressing the Health-e-Nation conference on the Gold Coast this morning, Ms Plibersek compared the PCEHR to the Snowy Mountains Scheme in that it took years to build and moved over time from an irrigation project to a renewable energy project that today powers many of Australia's capital cities.

“This didn’t happen overnight, nor was the full potential of the project realised on the day the water started flowing,” she said.

“The national eHealth records system will grow and evolve in a similar way.”

“This is a big and exciting project, but I’m determined not to rush it.

“This isn’t a matter of ‘flick a switch’ on 1 July and away you go.

“We’ve always said the roll out of the national eHealth system would be in gradual, carefully managed phases. That is the sensible, responsible way to deliver this reform.”

She said the initial step to be taken on July 1 “has always been about two key things: firstly, delivering the core national eHealth system – the building blocks – and secondly, allowing the first patients to register. And both are on track.

“Over time, as patients and doctors register, more detailed and sophisticated features will be available as part of an eHealth record.

"Eventually things like immunisation records, Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits information, organ donation details, and hospital discharge papers will be able to be added.

"And healthcare professionals will start to integrate patient eHealth records with the software they use in their practices so they’ll easily be able to add new information to a patient’s record.”

She used the example of the Northern Territory's shared health record as an example of that shows “that take up tends to be slow in the first couple of years, but that as the system matures take up accelerates.

“We expect that to be the case for the national eHealth records system too.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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