Government sets target for PCEHR uptake

The federal government has set a target of 500,000 consumers signing up for a PCEHR in the first year of its operation.

According to budget papers released yesterday for the eHealth implementation program, a key performance indicator for the PCEHR program will require a further million consumers to sign up in 2013-2014, with 2.2 million by 2014-2015.

It estimates 2.6m will have signed up by 2015-2016, although funding for the program has only been provided for two years, starting from July 1, 2012.

The government has allocated an extra $233 million over three years to continue the implementation of the national eHealth program. The funds are in addition to the $466 million allocated two years ago to build the PCEHR, according to the budget papers.

It is not clear if all of the $466 million has been spent as previously announced funding tranches have not approached this total during the period. Clarification has been sought from the Department of Health and Ageing.

Of the $233 million, $161.6 million will be used to operate the PCEHR system for the next two years, including registration and customer support, adoption support and benefits monitoring and evaluation.

$67.4 million will go to NEHTA over two years as part of the Commonwealth's share of joint funding for the organisation. It will be used to further develop national standards and operate the national infrastructure services, the government said.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will be given $4.6 million to provide regulatory oversight of the national eHealth services.

The Department of Human Services and the Department of Veterans' Affairs will also be given to funds to provide support services to PCEHR participants.

The budget papers state that jurisdictional governments will need to continue to invest in core health information systems to fully realise the benefits of this federal investment.

“The introduction of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system in 2012-13 represents a key milestone in the Government’s strategy to increase Australians’ access to eHealth services,” the papers state.

“Building on existing capacity and capability and expanding on the geographic footprints of the lead sites will enable a steady and incremental approach to ensure privacy, clinical safety and quality, and ensure that the tangible benefits of the PCEHR system can be monitored, evaluated and reported.”

The papers state that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will “oversee eHealth legislation, provide consumers and healthcare providers with information and guidance, and initiate and conciliate complaints”.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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