Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At Least The Financial Review Is Keeping An Eye on The ‘Non-Progress’ of the NEHRS. The Snails Are Way Out In Front So Far In the Race!

The following appeared today.

Progress slow in electronic health push

Emma Connors
Some 10,070 people now have a personal electronic health record as the government makes slow progress in addressing the concerns of consumers and doctors.
About 3240 signed up in the last month, joining the 6830 who were registered in late August.
However, obstacles remain. No GP practise is using clinical software directly linked to the new records system because the software is still not available. On the patient side, the Consumers Health Forum believes take-up would be faster if more people knew about the system, and if concerns about audit trails and governance were addressed.
Some teething problems have been addressed. Immunisations records and donor registration details have migrated to the new system as have Medicare and pharmaceutical benefit scheme records.
The government has also reached an uneasy truce with the Australian Medical Association after extending a cut-off date for technology allowances for surgeries and agreeing time spent updating e-records can be billed through the Medicare Benefits Scheme.
GPs will have to wait for software upgrades to link into the new system, but at least they now have some idea of how to charge for time spent on the new records, Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said.
“We would have preferred separate item numbers but at least doctors won’t fall foul of the professional services review if they do itemise their accounts in this way,” he said.
Dr Hambleton hopes ease of use considerations will sit alongside security when access to the new health records becomes widespread.
“A big issue at the practise level is everyone will require a piece of hardware to prove who they are when they log into the new records system.
“I’m not sure how that will work with hot desking; we would prefer for that authentication process to take place through a mobile phone.”
Lots more here with discussion of Audit Trails etc.
All I can say is it is good that Emma Connors from the AFR is still on the case!
It is also useful to know that the total registration is still about 10,000 - which means we still a really tiny percentage involved (4.545 * 10-4 of the population).
We are now essentially at ‘go-live’ + 3 months and it is fair to say that what has been delivered so far confirms the stupidity on the part of DoHA on responding to clearly absurd political deadlines - rather than just commencing operations when they were properly ready. The system ups and downs since really emphasises the validity of that view.
The Consumer Health Forum concerns also are really valid - especially the governance ones - which I have to say are nowhere near good enough as far as I am concerned.
Well worth a full read if you have access or can find a copy of the paper.

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