E-Health plan will push costs up and care down – AMA (WA)

E-Health plan will push costs up and care down – AMA (WA)

Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Federal Government’s e-health initiative will potentially drive down the quality of health care delivery in Western Australia while driving up costs, the AMA (WA) said today.

“I’m fearful that the e-health initiative is becoming so complicated and convoluted that the Government risks GPs walking away from the program,” AMA (WA) President Richard Choong said.

“The Federal Government must instead support general practitioners with adequate training and remuneration before asking them to embrace its ambitious e-health initiative.


The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) was launched on 1 July but GPs Australia-wide remain unsure of how to navigate the complex the system.


Dr Choong slammed the initiative as one with limited security, limited resources and ultimately, limited vision and a measure that will increase time demands on GPs.


“We estimate that the need to prepare and maintain electronic health records will cut by between 10 and 20 per cent the number of patients we can see in an average day,” he said.


“This, in turn, will drive down the quality and drive up costs of health care.”


“While there is much potential in establishing an electronic system of health records, the system in its current form resembles a badly botched operation. There are numerous concerns that the Federal Government needs to address, and fast,” he said.


Dr Choong said the lack of proper training and remuneration to GPs remained as major road blocks.


“Test sites for the PCEHR system were afforded a significant amount of assistance. General practices do not have the same luxury.


“Worse still, the government is using the approach of removing e-health Practice Incentive Payments for GPs that can’t meet their timelines.”


The AMA (WA) is urging the government to review the timelines for the PCEHR implementation to allow general practices more time to contend with the demands of prosecuting the system.

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