Government to review PCEHR

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Government to review PCEHR
Health minister Peter Dutton.

AusPost CIO joins review team.

The Australian Government will review the rollout of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), health minister Peter Dutton announced yesterday.

More than 500,000 Australians had registered to use the system by July this year, but reports suggest usability concerns are getting in the way of clinical uptake by GPs.

Dutton said only “a few hundred” doctors had successfully uploaded shared health summaries into the database, in spite of a financial incentives scheme launched under the previous government which provides payments to clinical organisations participating in the program.

The review will be headed by executive director of the UnitingCare health group in Queensland, Richard Royle, and is due to report back by Christmas.

Andrew Walduck, CIO of Australia Post, and Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association have also been appointed to the review team.

"The review team's expertise encompasses information technology, patient and medical services, and business administration, which I believe is the right mix to put the electronic records program back on track," Dutton said.

The review's terms of reference will focus on making the program more appealing to clinicians, including the identification of barriers to clinical use, usability issues and any new functionality that could “improve the value proposition” the PCEHR offers to doctors and patients.

The terms also lay the groundwork for greater private sector involvement. The review team has been asked to look at the potential integration of private sector products into the PCEHR, and roles the private sector should play in providing solutions.

"The government fully supports the concept of electronic health records but it must be fit for purpose and cost effective," Dutton said in a statement.

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