The chief executive of General Practice NSW has warned both State and Federal Governments that GPs are lacking the resources to deal with the country’s e-health agenda, including the $467 million personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) program.
Addressing attendees at the annual e-health forum for divisions of General Practice NSW, CEO Jan Newland, said extensive effort would be required to train and support GPs to deal with the expected e-health changes.
“Greater support is needed to provide infrastructure and support in primary care,” she said. “General practices are essentially small to medium businesses which are already under significant pressure to meet quality and regulatory requirements. Practices will not be able to meet the expected pace of change without assistance and possible additional support for security upgrades and infrastructure.”
According to Newland, GPs should look to sharing resources, learning and support in new e-health initiatives, and advised divisions transitioning to Medicare Locals that there would be an increased need for population health data management within the new organisations.
“Medicare Locals will also be required to engage in the e-health agenda by participating in early stage rollout of initiatives such as the Patient Held Electronic Health care Record (PHEHCR),” she said. “There will be a need to support practices in the implementation and use of the PHEHCR in a way which meets the expectations and pace of consumers.”
Last year the government allocated $416.8 million to establishing a network of primary health care organisations across Australian, termed ‘Medicare Locals’, in an effort to provide better access to GPs at both a local level after hours.
“The e-health agenda is enormous. GP NSW wants to be in a position to support Medicare Locals and primary care to meet important milestones, but needs funding to do it.”
Newland urged the Federal Government to provide support funding to Medicare Locals for the “dedicated” support of GPs.
“Without such funding, we will not be able to meet the targets for implementation by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA].”
The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) recently announced the second wave of e-health implementation sites to deploy and trial specific aspects of the PCEHR initiative, which included sites in North and South Brisbane and the maternity unit at the Mater Hospital.
The sites join the initial three sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs. Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW
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