My Health Record replaces PCEHR (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record) and Minister for Health announces trial

The PCEHR was introduced in July 2012 in an attempt to provide an integrated, personally controlled electronic health record that could be shared with health providers.  Over the last three years there has been limited uptake of the opt-in model of the PCEHR with around 2.5 million consumers currently registered for a record.

Whilst a majority of General Practices nation-wide (approximately 72%) are eHealth ready less than one third of this practice are routinely uploading information into their patients’ records. Public hospitals in the Sydney North Health Network catchment have been connected to the PCEHR since March 2015 enabling discharge summaries as well as GP authored Shared Health Summaries to be posted to the record.

To encourage broader use of the record and to increase the uploading of clinical content, the government committed further funding in last May’s budget and recently introduced legislation into parliament to change the name of the PCEHR to the My Health Record.

Minister Sussan Ley has also recently announced that a trial of an opt-out model of participation for the My Health Record will commence in early 2016 and be conducted in the Nepean/Blue Mountains area of Western Sydney and the Far North Queensland region. It is envisaged the trials may encompass a demographic of nearly 1 million participants who will be able to cancel their My Health Record at any stage throughout the trial.

The Australian Health and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has been commissioned to develop a My Health Record education and training package and recently conducted a survey targeting GPs, allied health, pharmacy and aged care providers to canvass what content the training package should comprise.

Consideration is also being given to changing some of the requirements for the GP eHealth Practice Incentive Payment (ePIP) to make funding contingent upon demonstrated active use of the  My Health Record system. This could include uploading Shared Health Summaries for chronic and complex patients, greater utilisation of secure messaging and the adoption of assisted consumer registration. If accepted the proposed changes would likely be introduced at the beginning of the next PIP funding quarter in February 2016, however both the RACGP and AMA have expressed opposition to modifying the ePIP criteria.

Article by Helen Purdy, PCAI Coordinator – eHealth. Email Helen – hpurdy@snhn.org.au