Federal Government to review electronic health records

Federal Health Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton, has announced a review of Australia’s struggling Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records program.

Page last updated: 03 November 2013

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3 November 2013

Federal Health Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton, today announced a review of Australia’s struggling Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records program which has failed to attract enough doctors to participate in the project.

“While the previous Coalition government laid the foundations for ehealth by getting computers into doctors’ practices, Labor comprehensively messed up the next stage and has wasted over a billion dollars in its failed attempt at the second phase - moving to personal electronic health records”.

Mr Dutton said a year after the introduction of the electronic health records system only a fraction of Australians have established a record and for those who have, only a few hundred doctors have added a Shared Health Summary..

“This defeats the purpose of having a national, electronic system that is meant to help save lives.

"The government fully supports the concept of electronic health records but it must be fit for purpose and cost effective.

“I am therefore announcing today a review of ehealth records to be chaired by Richard Royle, Executive Director of the UnitingCare Health group in Queensland.

"Mr Royle holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Health Administration degrees, and is an active member of the Executive Team responsible for all of UnitingCare's services in Queensland, including Bluecare and UnitingCare Community, as well as UnitingCare Health.

"In addition, Mr Royle is Vice-President of the Australian Private Hospitals Association and he brings more than 30 years experience in management of public and private health services to the position of Review Chair. He is also overseeing the implementation of Australia’s first fully integrated digital hospital in a pilot project at Hervey Bay in Queensland.”

Mr Dutton said Mr Royle will be assisted in the Review by Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association and Andrew Walduck, Chief Information Officer of Australia Post.

"The Review team's expertise encompasses information technology, patient and medical services and business administration which I believe is the right mix to put the electronic health records program back on track."

The Review panel will invite submissions from the public along with key stakeholder groups including peak clinical bodies. The Review will report back to Minister Dutton by mid-December 2013 after which the government will consider the recommendations and respond.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, Minister Dutton’s Office, 0412 132 58

Review Terms of Reference

The panel will conduct a Review into the personally controlled electronic health record system dealing with implementation, uptake and including, but not limited to the following:

  • The gaps between the expectations of users and what has been delivered
  • The level of consultation with end users during the development phase
  • The level of use of the PCEHR by health care professions in clinical settings
  • Barriers to increasing usage in clinical settings
  • Key clinician and patient usability issues
  • Work that is still required including new functions that improve the value proposition for clinicians and patients
  • Drivers and incentives to increase usage for both industry and health care professionals
  • The applicability and potential integration of comparable private sector products
  • The future role of the private sector in providing solutions
  • The policy settings required to generate private sector solutions
The Panel will make findings and recommendations to the Minister.

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