As many as 1500 GP clinics have failed to meet the minimum benchmark for My Health Record participation in the past quarter and risk losing thousands of dollars in incentive payments as a result, the Australian Medical Association has claimed.
It said as many as 40 percent of GPs are still not equipped to regularly upload shared health summaries into the system, and one-third of the clinics previously receiving funds to help them with the e-health transition now risk a shortfall of more than $24,000 a year.
The AMA slammed the government’s move to toughen the eligibility criteria for incentive payments for MyHR participation, claiming it will “erode the goodwill of GPs” rather than prompt them to upload more patient data into the national health records system.
The federal government doles out the payments in exchange for medical practices adopting compliant software and processes that hook into its My Health Record e-health system.
But in May it stepped up its demands, asking GPs to upload shared health summaries for a minimum of 0.5 percent of the patients they see each quarter in order to keep receiving the funds.
Getting doctors adding to patient records has been one of the perennial headaches of the My Health Record implementation, with the Department of Health revealing in April that only 300 of the 8625 clinics in Australia are regularly using the system.
But the AMA has warned the government its eligibility reform risks getting doctors further offside.
“With adequate time, education, and support, many of the affected 1500 general practices may well begin to genuinely engage with the MyHealth Record, and eventually champion it," AMA vice president Tony Bartone said in a statement.
“But penalising them with draconian eligibility requirements at this critical point will have the opposite effect."
The medical lobby said its survey showed that 69 practices have pulled out of the incentive scheme since the changes took effect.
“The AMA is urging the minister to do the right thing by hardworking GPs and introduce a moratorium on the upload target,” Bartone said.
Doctors have long complained that they are hampered by shortcomings in the clinical usability of the My Health Record system.
The AMA has previously argued that a patient’s ability to remove selected details of their medical history means clinicians can’t rely on the veracity of a record.