I thought it would be useful to provide a summary of what PCEHR Tenderers are being told about what the PCEHR is and what it is intended to do.
This is directly from the Infrastructure Partner Tender released today.
2.1.1 In executing its responsibilities under the Contract for the provision of Services specified in this RFT pack, the National Infrastructure Partner will work towards an outcome that aligns with the Government’s commitment to eHealth, as defined by the Minister for Health and Ageing on 11 May 2010:
Australians will be able to check their medical history online through the introduction of personally controlled electronic health records, which will boost patient safety, improve health care delivery, and cut waste and duplication.
The $466.7 million investment over the next two years will revolutionise the delivery of healthcare in Australia. The national e-Health records system will be a key building block of the National Health and Hospitals Network.
This funding will establish a secure system of personally controlled electronic health records that will provide:
· Summaries of patients’ health information – including medications and immunisations and medical test results;
· Secure access for patients and health care providers to their e-Health records via the internet regardless of their physical location;
· Rigorous Governance and oversight to maintain privacy; and
· Health care providers with the national standards, planning and core national infrastructure required to use the national e-Health records system.
A personally controlled electronic heath record will have two key elements:
· a health summary view including conditions, medications, allergies, and vaccinations; and
· an indexed summary of specific healthcare events.
Implementation of personally controlled electronic health records
Personally controlled electronic health records will build on the foundation laid by the introduction of the Individual Health Care Identifiers later this year. Under this, every Australian will be given a 16-digit electronic health number, which will only store a patient’s name, address and date-of-birth. No clinical information will be stored on the number, which is separate to an electronic health record.
Implementation will initially target key groups in the community likely to receive the most immediate benefit, including those suffering from chronic and complex conditions, older Australians, Indigenous Australians and mothers and newborn children.
This investment includes funding for the first two years of the individual electronic health record business case developed in consultation with all states and territories and the National Electronic Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
Subject to progress in rolling out the core e-Health infrastructure, the Government may consider future investments, as necessary, to expand on the range of functions delivered under an electronic health record system.
Reforms to take health system into 21st century
A national e-Health records system was identified as a national priority by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the draft National Primary Health Care Strategy. It was also supported by the National Preventative Health Strategy.
The Government’s reform plans in primary, acute, aged and community care also require a modern e-Health infrastructure. It is a key foundation stone in building a health system for the 21st century.
A personally controlled electronic health record will not be mandatory to receive health care. For those Australians who do choose to opt in, they will be able to register online to establish a personally controlled e-Health record from 2012-13.
2.1.2 The following table specifies the key outcomes and capabilities to be delivered for Release 1 of the PCEHR Program.
Table 1: Key Outcomes and Capabilities for Release 1 of PCEHR Program
PCEHR Core Infrastructure
Indexing and Search Service
Strengthen Consumer Participation
An appropriate system and interface for accessing Personal Health Records is finalised and ready for implementation.
Portal for Consumers to access their own health information, manage who has visibility of their PCEHR and view an access audit trail.
Better Assessment and Treatment Selection
Pathology report summary information available via PCEHR indexed GP summaries.
Radiology report summary information available via PCEHR indexed GP summaries.
Safer Medication Management
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme information indexed by PCEHR.
Prescription provider information (e.g. GP Prescriptions) indexed by PCEHR Program.
Improved Continuity of Care
Discharge summaries electronically sent from participating hospitals to GPs.
Discharge summary indexed by PCEHR Program.
Referrals from GP to Specialists.
Referral indexed by PCEHR Program.
Enhanced Coordination of Care
PCEHR populated with initial static health summary view using readily available information (e.g. Medical Benefits Scheme and immunisation).
PCEHR information is available for download to local GP system upon request.
Health System Intelligence
Reporting and evaluation framework.
----- End Extract (Note I have left out the level of requirement for each area as most of it is mandatory)
It seems to me that this set of capabilities are utterly ‘pie in the sky’. Given the tender does not close till March 22, 2011 and evaluation has to take a couple of months, to have 12 months to deliver this range of capabilities is just not realistic.
Of course just how all those in GP land, all the pathology and radiology services and all the hospitalsare going to be lined up to record electronically and provide the required information to populate the PCEHR is an utterly unanswerable and clearly impractical question which is not based on any reality.
I feel this is all part of an enormous and very expensive hoax on the public at large!