The Government will likely struggle to meet its target of 500,000 registrants for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) by June, after it was revealed only 109,000 Australians had registered in the last nine months.
The system, launched last July, has been plagued with issues, including with its online registration system and availability for general practitioners.
Speaking today at a HISA conference on big data in health, Department of Health & Ageing chief information and knowledge officer Paul Madden encouraged attendees to sign up to the program.
He said the $628 million e-health records project had the ability to change the game for health, with significant flow-through data from the records already being gathered.
So far, Madden said, the e-health records of the 109,000 people already registered had delivered 5.4 million Medicare records, 2.9 million pharmaceutical benefits claims, 16,600 immunisation registrations for children over the age of seven, and 23,000 organ donor records.
Only two hospitals are currently uploading discharge summaries to the system. All public hospitals were expected to be doing so by July, Madden said.
Based on the information gleaned from the electronics records, the average Australia visited the GP four times a year, ordered 12 pharmacy prescriptions, visited a specialist three teams, went twice to allied health care workers and once to the dentist.
He said 2000 health care practitioners now had access to the system, and 90 percent of GPs had access to the software deployed by the National E-Health Transmission Authority.
He called the PCEHR a "leap forward in health”.
“The way that we use, maintain and manage health care delivery throughout Australia will start to change as a result of the information we are able to put together which we’ve never had access to before in the way we do now."