PCEHR Review – report now available

29 May 2014

Last week the government released the report of the Review of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) on the Department of Health website. The PCEHR was launched in July 2012, but has not had a strong uptake. The review, to which the AMA provided a submission, sought to investigate, among other things, the barriers to implementation, uptake and clinical use of the e-health record.

Headed by Richard Royle, Uniting Care Health Executive Director, with assistance from Dr Steve Hambleton, the then AMA President, and Andrew Walduck, Chief Information Officer, Australia Post, the review was handed to the Government in December last year. It made 38 recommendations, including a call for a name change, to My Health Record (MyHR).  

Most significantly, the review recommended a transition to an opt-out model by 1 January 2015. The report stated that this would dramatically improve the value proposition for clinicians to regularly turn to the MyHR, which must initially include demographics, current medications and adverse events, discharge summaries, and clinical measurements. 

Speaking at a conference in Sydney on Monday last week, Health Minister Peter Dutton expressed support for moving to an opt-out arrangement, but also said the public and stakeholders would be given time to respond to this proposed change. 

The report also called for the replacement of the National e-Health Transition Authority with a new body to be called the Australian Commission for Electronic Health (ACeH), whose board would include care providers and consumers. Advising the ACeH board would be a number of committees, including a Clinical and Technical Advisory Committee, a Consumer Advisory Committee, and a Privacy and Security Committee.

The 2014-15 Budget provides $140.6 million to support the operation of eHealth and the PCEHR system for 12 months. The Minister said the government's response to the review's recommendations was still several months away.