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Undercooked PCEHR still struggling for acceptance by medical profession

AMA Family Doctor Week 16-22 July 2012
AMA Federal President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the recently partially implemented personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) is dogged by serious adverse claims around privacy, security and compatibility, which means it will be some time before it is taken up by patients or their doctors in large numbers.
Dr Hambleton said the AMA supports the concept of a reliable shared electronic health record, but the PCEHR currently on offer is still not it.
“The reality is that the PCEHR is still in its early stages and is not yet an attractive proposition, Dr Hambleton said.
“What we need is urgent clarity over when things will be rolled out, with a clear timetable. 
We need public information on what patients can reasonably expect to receive at the surgery, and when.
“On top of that, there are no government incentives for doctors to sign up to the PCEHR.  There is no new Medicare funding and no new Medicare items to cover the extra work required in preparing and maintaining a shared health summary for each patient.
“A shared electronic health summary will ultimately provide doctors with an additional source of patient information and will stimulate ongoing communication between doctors and their patients in the management of patient care.
“It has the potential to give doctors and patients an accurate up-to-date list of ailments, treatments, tests, and medications.  But the PCEHR cannot currently deliver these core services.
“Under the current design of the PCEHR, patients might not sign up and might not give access to their treating GP, or they could omit or remove important medical information without consultation with their doctor.
“The PCEHR should be an opt-out system, not opt-in, in order to create the necessary critical mass of records, Dr Hambleton said.
To help the process get started, the AMA website now hosts a PCEHR landing page.  The AMA’s ‘Getting Ready for the PCEHR’ checklist identifies the steps that medical practices must undertake before they can begin to use the PCEHR.
The PCEHR landing page is at
For more information or comment from AMA Victoria President, Dr Stephen Parnis please contact Struan Robertson on 0437 450 506

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