The e-Health component ran from about 3.00pm up until about 3:40pm
Questioning began by Senator Boyce at 3.00pm.
Others who asked most questions were Senator Furner and Senator Fierravanti-Wells.
The two main areas of questioning were around the Personally Controlled EHR (PCEHR) and the HI Service.
Personally Controlled EHR
We discovered the following:
A PCERH is a personal health record owned and controlled by the patient.
It will be voluntary to have one.
The PCEHR is apparently planned to be accessible via a portal.
Access will be possible by anyone who has been authorised by the patient and it is planned access via the internet will be possible from home, public libraries.
It was suggested that maybe Google or Microsoft would offer the service and this was denied. (Note: a correspondent has suggested that I may have misheard - and that the question was not really answered directly) The net outcome is I think it is possible but not plan A at the moment - time will tell!
DoHA has not yet worked out how infrastructure for the PCERH will be built.
When asked about the relatively small amount of money, we were told the $467M was consistent with Larger PCEHR Business Case which ran for more years. It was also clear that there was, as yet, no real idea as to how the money would be spent and on what.
It was made clear that e-Health development would be “incremental rather than small steps”. (Whatever is meant by that!)
No comments made on where the health information to populate the record would come from and no real discussion on what functionality the portal would provide.
I was left with the distinct impression that the Business Case that was talked about was not the IEHR plan developed by NEHTA.
Health Identifier Service
Use of HI Service Number.
The plan it to allocate the IHI numbers once the legislation is passed and regulations are approved.
It was the plan that provider would be also allocated numbers and they would be major users initially.
It was quite clear there would be little happen for a good while after July 1, even if legislation is passed.
To date no live system had been tested.
Amazingly only 3 software providers had signed ‘Developers Licences’ to access the Medicare HI Service Development system.
No indication was provided on how promotion of the HI Service would be undertaken of funded but Senators mentioned that NEHTA had released an Implementation and Communication Plan.
If legislation not passed – impact on scheme was recognised to be substantial and it was agreed that it was being talked about rather optimistically.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells asked a number of details on NEHTA funding, plans etc (Other questions were also asked on the total cost of e-Health since 1993) so the answers on notice to those will be interesting when they arrive.
Senator Furner asked a good set of questions based on the Booz E-Health Report. All the bureaucrats agreed E-Health was vital and important in saving lives and money. That was good to get on the record!
Not really enough time but some interesting points. We really need more time than this and we need NEHTA to turn up!