Electronic Health records have been a hot topic in the Australian medical world lately after the Department Of Health re-launched their My Health Record system (previously known as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record or PCEHR) earlier this year. With so many opinions flying around in the media, both negative and positive – we decided to take matters into our own hands and put together a short survey to see what you really thought of them.
E-Health Records are online patient records that can be accessed by any health professional connected to the system. The idea is that these records allow doctors and hospitals to improve patient care – and potentially lower costs – by tracking all the treatment a person receives. Currently, over 2.6 million people in Australia hold a My Health Record and over 8000 healthcare providers are connected to the system.
Our recent survey showed that the majority of you in General Practice are using e-health and that a whopping 85% of your patients hold an e-health record, but do they benefit you and save you time in practice? According to the GP’s and practice staff that completed this survey, yes, they do benefit you in the practice and 80% of you find them extremely useful.
Here’s what you told us:
1. E-Health Records make recording patient data easy
When it comes to new patients that have an existing E-Health Record, recording data in the system is easy. Previous medical history is available for you to view and discuss and it’s simply a matter of adding new data. Patient results such as pathology and x-ray can also be added to the system allowing any healthcare provider working with the patient to view and compare results easily.
2. E-Health Records minimises time spent inputting patient data
As mentioned previously being able to add to a patient record rather than create a whole new record minimises time spent inputting data therefore, allowing you more time to focus on the care and treatment of a patient. Although there were concerns mentioned by a few such as patients having the ability to delete records, reports and referrals to suit their preferred diagnosis meaning healthcare providers may not see the full & true history of a patient, this in turn could be detrimental to a number of patients health such as those seeking drugs.
3. You would recommend that all of your patients register for an E-Health Record
It would seem that most of you would prefer and would recommend that all of your patients sign up for an E-Health record to not only save time and money but to be able to focus on and to continue to provide better healthcare. The only concern here was that with patients having access to their own records and doctors no longer having complete control, if not taken care of or closed properly anyone could potentially get access to very sensitive information.
Overall, it appears from our survey that E-Health records are a great system to have, particularly in general practice and are achieving exactly what they were made for, though it’s clear that there are a few issues that would benefit being addressed in the near future in order for more healthcare providers and patients to sign up and trust the system.
If you have more to add on the topic we’d love to hear from you – simply leave a comment below or head to facebook and comment on our blog post there!
To find out more about The Department of Health’s ‘My Health Record’ visit: https://myhealthrecord.gov.au/internet/mhr/publishing.nsf/Content/healthcare-providers