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Less than a quarter of GP practices ready for e-health changes: survey

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The Australian Medical Association has written to Health Minister Sussan Ley and Shadow Health Minister Catherine King urging them to reconsider new rules regarding GP compliance for the new My Health Record System.

They have conducted a survey across 658 practices and found that just 24% of medical practices are ready to comply.

The new rules that came into effect last month penalises practices that fail to upload shared health summaries for at least 0.5 per cent of their standardised whole patient equivalent each quarter.

Practices that can’t upload this quota are ineligible for payment under the newly-branded PIP Digital Health Incentive.

Related: Changes to PIP eHealth initiative

The survey found that 39.5% of practices are unable to comply and 36% of practices are unsure. Of the practices that can’t comply, they will lose on average $23,400 in incentive payments.

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said the rule is unfair as the My Health Record system is still a work in progress.

“The AMA has strongly backed the introduction of a national e-health record because of the real benefits it could provide for patient care,” he said.

“But the My Health Record system is plagued with shortcomings that need to be fixed before the Government tries to foist it on patients and practices.”

He also pointed out that many practices are already facing increased financial pressure due to the extension of the rebate freeze.

“The extension of the rebate freeze has already pushed many practices to the financial brink, and the last thing they need is to have thousands more ripped away from them because of a flawed process to introduce a national e-health record system,” he said.

Related: Preparing for change in aged care and e-health

Other concerns the practices had were:

  • My Health Record was not a reliable source of clinical information for GPs (65.%).
  • There was no demand from patients (66.7%).
  • There was no financial support for the extra work involved in preparing and uploading shared health summaries (67.5%).
  • There were unresolved issues regarding the security of the My Health Record system (61.5%).
  • Other health providers are not using the My Health Record and GPs see little value in using it (61.3%).

Dr Gannon warned rushing the My Health Record trial risked undermining the support of the medical profession.

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