NACCHO Aboriginal eHealth news : Will all Aboriginal clients be automatically enrolled for an e-Health record ?

Front Page

All AUSTRALIANS would be automatically enrolled for an e-Health record and have to opt out to protect their health privacy under sweeping changes to the $1 billion white elephant.


A government review of the troubled computer system is also considering changing the extent to which patients control what appears on the record.


And doctors could get paid to upload patient health summaries onto the record to get more clinicians involved in using it.

Launched in July 2012 the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record was meant to bring medical records into the digital age and contain an electronic patient health summary, a list of allergies and medications and eventually X-rays and test results.

Seventeen months after it was launched only a million people have signed up for the record and only one per cent of these records has a clinical summary uploaded by a doctor.

A government inquiry into the record headed by Uniting Care Health chief Richard Royle has been charged with overhauling the struggling policy.

The intention of his panel is “not to kill it but build on the foundation base”, he says.

“If there is one consistent theme it is that the industry wants to see it work,” says the man who will next year launch Australia’s first digitally integrated hospital.

Voluntary sign-ups for e-health records have been slow and the Consumer’s Health Forum which previously backed an opt-in record has told the inquiry it now wants an opt-out system.

“Australia should bite the bullet and make joining the national e-Health records system automatic for everyone unless they actively choose to opt out,” CHF spokesman Mark Metherell says.

“An opt out model is one of the issues we’re looking at,” says Mr Doyle.

Doctors have told the inquiry they won’t trust the record unless patients are prevented from changing or withholding any clinical data such as an abortion or mental illness from the record.

They say they need this information so they have a proper understanding of all the medications and health conditions the person has to get a correct diagnosis and ensure there are no medication mix-ups.

Mr Royle says the inquiry is considering the personal control issue but “don’t assume the AMA position is the prevailing view,” he said.

The Consumer’s Health Forum says “if there is to be opt out full personal control of the health record must be central to the system and if possible strengthened”.

Consumers who had health procedures such as an abortion or a mental illness they may want to hide would be worried if they lost control over the record.

The changes would completely change the nature of the Personally Controlled e-Health Record which the previous Labor government promised would be voluntary and controlled by the patient.

The review set up by incoming Health Minister Peter Dutton has received over 82 submissions and the inquiry has been told the record won’t be useful until a critical mass of patients and doctors begin using it.

Health Minister Peter Dutton has ridiculed the slow progress with the record and doctors have argued they are unlikely to quickly embrace the record until they get paid to upload patient health summaries.

The review is also looking at whether involving private information technology providers who run private e-health records could improve the system.

A draft report is due to go to Health Minister Peter Dutton before Christmas.

NACCHO eHealth review submissions close 22 Nov :eHealth vital for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health

Front Page

Front page story from this weeks NACCHO Health News -Australia’s first Aboriginal health newspaper (Out this week in the KOORI MAIL)

The chair of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s  (NACCHO) has welcomed the Federal  Health Minister Peter Dutton’s recent announcement for  a review of the current Personally Controlled Ehealth Records (PCEHR ) program, but has called on the Federal Government to support the continued use by Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCH’S).

Update 21 November from NACCHO/AMSANT

The Federal Government have announced a review of the national eHealth Record System (PCEHR) with submissions to be completed by this Friday 22nd November.

 This is a very important review for the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to be involved in, as the sector has a 10 year history of being early, enthusiastic and skilled implementers and utilisers of eHealth, a basic foundation tool towards closing the gap through improved record sharing and data accuracy to ultimately improve health service provision and outcomes for Aboriginal people.  

 Note that the submission must be less than 1000 words and address the following areas:

  • Your  experience on the level of consultation with key stakeholders during the  development phase
  • The level  of use of the PCEHR by health care professions in clinical settings
  • Barriers  to increasing usage in clinical settings
  • Comments on standards for Terminology, language and technology
  • Key clinician utility and usability issues
  • Key patient usability issues
  • Suggested Improvements to accelerate adoption of the platform

Please return the submission or any comments today who will complete it and ensure it is submitted by Friday 22nd November.. Thank you.

Mr. Mohamed said he agreed with the minister that the concept of electronic health records must be fit for purpose and cost effective and that the review should be able to put the controversial electronic health records program back on track.

“Given the state of Aboriginal health in this country and the fact the our Aboriginal population is expected to grow to over a million by 2031 we need to educate healthcare professionals on the role of Telehealth and ehealth technology can play to help close the gap.

We recognised in our recent Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change plan 2013-2030 that five years on from setting targets to “Close the Gap”, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have been responsible for many of the health gains achieved  and that ehealth records have and will have into the future play a vital role  in recording improvements ,identifying risk factors, performing health checks, planning care, and managing and treating high-risk individuals” Mr Mohamed said

“The ACCHS sector has successfully embraced the concept of a national ehealth program to ensure continuity of care for a frequently mobile population with high incidence of illness. ACCHSs are often small health organisations that rely on external providers, including cardiac and renal specialists, physiotherapists, pathologists and radiographers.

If a patient say from Tennant Creek is visiting a clinic in Alice Springs   the administering health professional has in the past been locked out of the patient’s complex medical history, unless they go through the cumbersome process of requesting a health summary from the home clinic, which in turn may also be limited in historic information.

A shared electronic health record has enabled will our Aboriginal patients to receive health care consistent with their condition, treatment history and specialist advice, reducing risk of over treatment or testing.

“Our ACCHs PCEHR systems will meet the needs of a mobile population; enabling a patient to receive health care consistent with their condition, treatment history and specialist advice, reducing risk of over treatment or testing; captures important data that is otherwise easily lost; allows for information sharing and broad analysis; empowers the patients, affording greater flexibility and choice of health care provider.

“The national ehealth record system would do well to mimic the model of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services – regional, locally controlled health services that promote participation and are responsive to local need rather than a big one size fits all model.” Mr Mohamed said

The goals of PCEHR already align well with NT Aboriginal Health KPI Information System to contribute to improving primary health care services for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory by building capacity at the service level and the system level to collect, analyse and interpret data that will:

  • Inform understanding of trends in individual and population health outcomes;
  • Identify factors influencing these trends; and
  • Inform appropriate action, planning and policy development.

Mr Mohamed as active implementers of the PCEHR, the ACCHS sector looks forward to participating in this review in its pursuit of the highest quality and continuity of health care for Aboriginal people towards Closing the Gap.

NACCHO Aboriginal ehealth technology news: Telehealth,ehealth and the Aboriginal digital divide

Eh ealth

In this issue Telehealth

Roy Monaghan, national telehealth delivery officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), says the lack of reliable broadband in remote and rural Australia has contributed to a digital divide.

Please note that NACCHO plans to launch an ABORIGINAL HEALTH APP this week as part of its Sports Healthy Futures Program ;

Followed by Ehealth below

The PCEHR will become the primary record for all new information, but the MeHR will also be accessible for historical documents.

The NT is also holding off until next year as the national PCEHR cannot yet receive pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, which the MeHR can. The NT is planning to go live just after the major upgrade of the PCEHR planned for April, when pathology reports are expected to be available.

TELEHEALTH: Slow NBN rollout contributing to digital literacy deficit

The slow roll out of the National Broadband Network is contributing an ongoing digital literacy deficit across Australia, especially in telehealth, according to speakers at the Connected Australia event in Sydney.

“There’s a lot of up-skilling to do, in particular at the home end or recipient end of healthcare. There’s a notion of build it and they will come: If you don’t have the NBN, you won’t generate the digital literacy to maximise the use of it. So it’s a little like chicken and egg,” said Professor Colin Carati, associate head of ICT at Flinders University.

Roy Monaghan, national telehealth delivery officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), agreed, saying the lack of reliable broadband in remote and rural Australia has contributed to a digital divide.

“It’s like having a bike: you don’t really learn what the bike can do until you get on it. You may make a few mistakes, but essentially you have a vehicle that can take you faster than you can with your legs. If people don’t have the ability to jump onto a system and make those mistakes, adjust and learn on how to do things a bit better, we are not going to go places.”

Carati pointed to issues around the NBN rollout schedule not going according to plan, saying it has made the process of providing adequate teleheatlh services difficult.

A NACCHO survey showed that only 30 of about 100 members were actually engaging in telehealth services, with the lack of an effective Internet connection being the main reason why many weren’t engaging in telehealth, said Monaghan.

He added that the new government’s fibre-to-the-node broadband policy is “an incomplete solution”, but it could offer some flexibility in being able to make changes to the network as technology continues evolves over time.

“It could be that wireless technology does evolve and you may be able to [leverage] it at these nodes, and maybe there will be a Wi-Fi tower that can shoot out the information at a very high speed.”

A telehealth project that Carati is working on in South Australia is providing people at home with particular health conditions to have their health status monitored remotely on a regular basis through an iPad app and through video conferencing.

He said he was able to provide this without the need for a large amount of bandwidth; less than 1Mbps per video conference. However, he said he is still limited in the quality of service he can provide due to poor reliability of Internet.

“There are occasions, especially when you are using non NBN related technologies, where you are getting poor quality and reliability of service, primarily though the contention of those technologies where you are getting too many people trying to jump on the bandwidth.

“The NBN will improve access, especially pushing out to the home and the bandwidth demands are likely to increase.”


States commit to rapid eHealth integration project

Written by Kate McDonald on 10 October 2013., Pulse IT magazine

The majority of states and territories will have the ability to begin allowing acute care clinicians to view clinical documents and send discharge summaries to the PCEHR system by the end of the year.

In a panel discussion at a recent ICT forum organised by the Department of Health and NEHTA, jurisdictional representatives provided an update on their respective eHealth strategies and how they planned to connect acute care to the PCEHR.

No representatives from South Australia and Western Australia were on the panel, although SA has already begun sending discharge summaries from nine public hospitals and has developed software called Healthcare Information and PCEHR Services (HIPS) that is being used by other states as part of NEHTA’s unfortunately named rapid integration project (RIP).

Paul McRae, the principal enterprise architect with Queensland Health, told the forum that the jurisdictions were all members of a RIP steering committee that he chairs. Mr McRae said the committee had agreed that the first steps to integrating with the PCEHR was to enable discharge summaries to be uploaded and to allow clinicians to view clinical documents.

Mr McRae said Queensland Health had linked with the HI Service in January this year, and those using it were achieving an 85 per cent match rate when pulling in batches of Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHIs).

He said NASH certificates and HPI-Os were recently acquired for healthcare organisations to support the rapid integration program.

“We are looking to roll out statewide the ability to send discharge summaries to the PCEHR from all facilities that use our enterprise discharge summary application, which is all bar about three,” he said.

“And we are going to provide the ability to view PCEHR information from our clinical portal, which is called The Viewer . That will be available in around 200-plus facilities and that will all happen early in November.

“At the same time, discharge summaries in CDA format level 2 will be able to be sent point to point as well.”

Yin Man, manager of NSW Health’s RIP program – better known as HealtheNet – said CDA discharge summaries and event summaries had been able to be sent to GPs and the NSW clinical repository from within the Greater Western Sydney lead site since August last year.

Clinicians in Greater Western Sydney are now able to access the national system through a clinical portal , which Ms Man said would be rolled out to all public hospitals in the state over the next two years.

“Our clinicians in hospitals within Greater Western Sydney have been viewing CDA discharges since last August and this year we have been integrating with the national,” she said.

“All hospitals will be connected to this one portal. Things have been going quite well and we already have half a million CDA documents within our clinical repository, and we pretty much generate about 6000 a month. As soon as we connect, we will be sending a lot of documents to the national.”

Victoria’s representative on the panel, the Victorian Department of Health’s advisor on eHealth policy and engagement, Peter Williams, did not go into much detail on his state’s plans for integrating with the PCEHR as a review of the state’s health IT sector is currently with the health minister.

It is understood that some local health districts – particularly those that took part in the Wave 1 and 2 lead site projects – are soon to begin sending discharge summaries to the national system, but Victoria does not have the centralised approach that the other states are taking.

Mr Williams said Victoria had put a proposal to NEHTA to look at how to expand the viewing capacity of hospitals outside of the lead sites. “Once you have done it for some, you can extend it to others … using common software, and we have licences across Victoria,” he said.

“With the secure messaging project that is being done in SA, while they are using different technology, the design approach is adaptable in Victoria very quickly. That is absolutely the core of what the RIP project is about – fast-tracking some of those things.”

The Northern Territory is currently working through a major project that it is calling the M2N , in which it is transitioning its successful My eHealth Record (MeHR) system over to the national PCEHR. For that reason, it will not go live with full discharge summary and viewing capability until March or April next year.

Robert Whitehead, director of eHealth policy and strategy with the NT Department of Health, said the territory was probably going to follow Queensland and provide a combined view of both the MeHR and the PCEHR for its departmental staff.

The PCEHR will become the primary record for all new information, but the MeHR will also be accessible for historical documents.

The NT is also holding off until next year as the national PCEHR cannot yet receive pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, which the MeHR can. The NT is planning to go live just after the major upgrade of the PCEHR planned for April, when pathology reports are expected to be available.

“We have a unique set of circumstances in that we’ve been operating [the MeHR] now for eight years,” Mr Whitehead said. “We’ve got an established community of consumers and providers who have expectations about usability.

“We needed … for our clinicians in particular to be confident that what they see in [the PCEHR] matched what they currently are able to see. That has been the driver for asking DoHA and NEHTA to advance some aspects of PCEHR work in terms of a view that would support an aggregation of some key pieces of primary care information and event summaries.

“Our clinicians at the moment have access to a document that aggregates information … and that gives them a bit of a context about what has been going on with that patient in the last little while.

“The other thing is around pathology and diagnostic imaging reports in that our clinicians are used to being able to seeing pathology results that were ordered in a primary care context. Hospital stuff at the moment appears in the discharge summary and we are not arguing that should be changed.

“So our go live is a little later in that we are targeting around March-April next year as the go live date because of this need to do a hard transition from one to the other. We will still do a dual view of MeHR for people who are registered so that historical information is still accessible to our current participating healthcare providers.”

Like Victoria, Tasmania is also currently undertaking a review of its eHealth strategy. Tim Blake, deputy chief information officer with the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, said Tasmania was “on the cusp” of releasing its updated eHealth strategy, which is expected to include more details about connecting to the national system.

Pulse+IT understands that Tasmania will adopt the South Australian technology to begin allowing discharge summaries to be sent and clinical documents to be viewed within its public hospitals.

The ACT has been very active in eHealth, with Calvary Hospital playing a large role in one of the Wave 2 projects and already having the ability to send CDA discharge summaries to the PCEHR and to GPs.

The ACT Health Directorate’s manager for the national eHealth project, Ian Bull, said the territory had been investigating how to quickly verify IHIs for newborn babies, so their parents can register them for a PCEHR from birth.

“Within our jurisdiction we are building a consumer portal , so consumers can log in and look at their appointments for outpatients services,” Mr Bull said.“We are also building a provider portal for clinicians in the region to be able to submit referrals and get bookings.”

He said the ACT was also in discussions with the federal Department of Human Services to investigate using Medicare’s Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system more widely in the hospital environment.


Update 1.00 pm October 16

UGPA calls on Government to address clinical utility of the PCEHR as an urgent priority

Australia’s general practice (GP) leaders are calling on the Government to heed concerns raised by GPs regarding the significant clinical utility issues associated with the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR) system and address them as an urgent priority.

At a recent United General Practice Australia (UGPA) meeting in Canberra, representatives of the GP sector unanimously agreed that the focus of the PCEHR needs to be redirected to clinical utility and standardisation to ensure seamless clinical adoption.

Significant issues have been identified and currently there is no alignment between consumer registration and meaningful use through engagement of the clinical community and assurance of improvement of patient health outcomes.

In August 2013 a number of key clinical leads resigned from National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). This was amidst ongoing concerns and requests for NEHTA and the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) to review the PCEHR development cycle and re-establish meaningful clinical l input.

Since August, DoHA has become the PCEHR system operator and opportunities for clinical engagement have been less clear.

UGPA is calling on Government to implement strategies to ensure the PCEHR is best structured to improve the health outcomes of all Australians. The process should be profession led and include:

• GP input at every level of the PCEHR development life cycle; including planning through to implementation

• Ensuring the system is clinically safe, usable and fit for purpose

• Supported by an acceptable, and robust legal and privacy framework

• Secure messaging interoperability is a critical dependency priority.

E-health and the PCEHR have the potential to transform Australia’s health system and provide superior, safer and more efficient healthcare to all Australian patients. UGPA members believe that this potential will only be fully realised if there is meaningful clinical engagement at a grassroots level.

The Government has announced it will review implementation of the PCEHR. UGPA supports the review and look forward to contributing to the review and expect that the clinical voice and the concerns raised will be heard.


UGPA comprises the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA), the Australian General 2

Practice Network (AGPN), General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).


Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO is the national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job opportunities in the pipeline.

Current NACCHO job opportunities

Human Resource Officer

QUMAX Project Officer

Quality & Accreditation Support Project Officer

Close the Gap Project Officer

NACCHO Aboriginal health funding alert :Health Minister Peter Dutton to review troubled e-health

Peter Dutton

According to reports in The Australian  HEALTH Minister Peter Dutton has moved swiftly to initiate a review of the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health record system at the behest of Tony Abbott.

Mr Dutton has received initial briefings on the PCEHR from key stakeholders such as the Department of Health.

NACCHO has supported the introduction of a national eHealth record system. Through AMSANT our sector has directly experienced the benefits that have been gleaned from a shared electronic health record system (SEHR).

Our sector has been early adopters of eHealth initiatives for many years. More recent examples include: AMSANT and AHCSA integration with the NT Department of Health and Families eHealth site (wave 2) project, QAIHC adoption of the eCollaboratives project and the KAMSC regional linkage of Aboriginal Medical Services to hospitals in the Kimberley to name just a few examples.

As a result our sector has been in a  unique position to participate in the monitoring and evaluation of the PCEHR system as we have extensive knowledge and practice to draw from.

NACCHO and its affiliates are committed to the National eHealth agenda through the National ACCHS
eHealth Project (A new website will be released over the coming weeks)

The Coalition will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the true status of the PCEHR implementation as outlined in its health policy released in the lead up to the election. “In government, the Coalition implemented successful incentives to computerise general practice and will continue to provide strong in-principle support for a shared electronic health record for patients,” the policy says.

“The Coalition will again work with health professions and industry to prioritise implementation following a full assessment of the current situation.” A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton declined to say who was expected to lead the review or how long it would take.

“We all support an electronic health record,” she said. “However, we have grave concerns about the amount of money the previous government spent on e-health for very little outcome to date.

“At a cost of around $1bn, we should have a lot more to show for it.” In opposition, Mr Dutton and others criticised the PCEHR’s performance, saying that while more than 650,000 people had registered for an e-health record, only 4000-plus shared health summaries were created.

The summaries are generated by a patient’s GP and contain diagnoses, allergies and medications. The spokeswoman declined to say if Deloitte’s refresh of the 2008 national e-health strategy had begun. Medical Software Industry Association president Jenny O’Neill said her organisation was “very willing to assist the new Health Minister in a review and planning for a sustainable (e-health) future”.

“In a recent Q&A program on the ABC, former health minister Tanya Plibersek equated a $1.5bn investment by government as a ’rounding error’,”

Ms O’Neill said. “Had her department invested this ’rounding error’ in the e-health sector by strengthening the electronic bridges between all the parties, Australia would have achieved major and sustainable transformational change in this timeframe.

If all the important infrastructure supporting current data transfer had been strengthened and upgraded with the latest technologies, national security and safety standards would now exist.” She said the PCEHR was “a much advertised national system which is next to empty”. ”

Each transaction in this national system has to be routed through a national repository,” Ms O’Neill said. “It is like building a fast train system between the cities and towns of Australia and requiring every trip to go via Canberra.” She said taxpayers could not afford rounding errors in e-health.

The Consumers e-Health Alliance wants the government to establish a “truly independent” national e-health governing council that comprises medical experts, consumers, the local health IT industry and government agencies. Alliance convenor Peter Brown said the council would have oversight of a new entity tasked with implementation and operational responsibilities.

Last week the Pharmacy Guild told The Australian it would make a detailed submission to the e-health review centred on three areas: patient issues, pharmacy issues and system issues.

Pharmacy Guild national president Kos Sclavos said there had been “some significant mistakes and missed opportunities” with the PCEHR. Meanwhile, in an industry workshop prior to the election, Health chief information and knowledge officer Paul Madden said one area of improvement was communication.

“The advent of this forum probably lines up with a new era in consultation and communication with the IT industry across the whole health and ageing space,” Mr Madden told participants.

He said there wasn’t a single channel or co-ordinated approach to disseminate information on e-health but the department was determined to improve matters. “There is so much going on … so much overlapping … so much possibility for confusion, mis-messaging and I think we need to get better at communicating what’s happening next,” he said.

Mr Madden expects such industry workshops, where participants range from departmental officials to software providers, to occur three to four times a year. –


NACCHO JOB Opportunities:

Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job oppportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE

NACCHO HEALTH INNOVATION and EXCELLENCE: Could TELEHEALTH kiosks be a “health” solution for remote communities


NACCHO is leading the way in the Aboriginal Controlled Community Controlled Health sector rolling out both EHealth and TELEHEALTH
Over the next few weeks we will be launching an Ehealth newsletter that will promote a wide range of innovative and excellent resources for both programs.


Today as part of our ongoing series NACCHO presents the concept of TELEHEALTH kiosks, that could be a low cost affordable solution for our ACCH’s servicing remote communities. In the USA they only cost US$10,000

In America walk-in kiosks for retail settings are coming and promise to deliver healthcare on the spot via telemedicine.

HealthSpot is part of a wave of upcoming small, walk-in telemedicine kiosk designed to deliver access to high-quality healthcare in retail stores and other non-traditional settings.


Healthcare Kiosks are Coming

The video explains the premise in more detail:

Soon after we came across the LifeBot 5 portable emergency room a closely related effort was brought to our attention.

Focusing this time on traditional doctor’s visits, HealthSpot is a small, walk-in telemedicine kiosk designed to deliver access to high-quality healthcare in retail stores and other non-traditional settings.

Recognizing the additional strain that will be placed on the healthcare system as some 40 million more Americans become insured under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Ohio-based HealthSpot aims to increase access to high quality, convenient and affordable healthcare by expanding beyond the walls of the traditional doctor’s office.

Specifically, the company’s new HealthSpot Station walk-in kiosks offer an alternative via high-definition videoconferencing and telehealth tools.

So, rather than wait in line at a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic, patients will be able to visit the closest HealthSpot Station and talk with a board-certified doctor via video conferencing. Inside each 10-foot kiosk are a scale and television dashboard as well as a variety of common medical tools, according to a TechCrunch report.

The remotely located doctor guides the patient as he or she uses the stethoscope and other tools for gathering data about various vital signs, which are then displayed graphically.

An attendant is always on hand to help check the patient in and offer help when necessary, and a combination of automatic and manual cleaning procedures keep sanitization levels even higher than those of a traditional doctor’s office, the company says.

Targeted locations include retail sites such as grocery stores, urgent care facilities, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, specialist offices, rural areas, campuses, developing nations and even large businesses, “Where employees could walk down the hall and see a doctor in 20 minutes instead of taking half a day off from work,” HealthSpot explains.

HealthSpot unveiled its kiosks at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Currently, it’s pilot-testing its concept in Ohio urgent care clinics and a children’s hospital. Pricing on the stations will reportedly be between $10,000 and $15,000; patients will pay $60-80 per visit.

Healthcare entrepreneurs: one to get involved in?

Spotted by: Murtaza Patel

From our friends at Springwise

Aboriginal community case study (resent with new link): Northern Territory integrates PCEHRs with telehealth

The Northern Territory is demonstrating its nation leading ehealth work with a new video showcasing the integration of telehealth consultations with shared electronic health records (PCEHR) in Aboriginal communities.


As published December 2012


Bridging the Digital Divide presents the care journey of a person in a remote community requiring a mixture of primary and secondary care for a serious injury.

Making use of the Territory’s My eHealth Record and its “Health eTowns” Telehealth Program, the patient receives treatment from a remote area nurse with real time clinical review and advice remotely from a doctor and a specialist burns nurse in Darwin over the course of their infirmity.

Speaking with, the NT Dept of Health’s Director of strategic ehealth systems, Jackie Plunkett, explained the importance of using shared care records in conjunction with telehealth. “The two go hand in hand. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have one without the other because when combined they make a powerful service delivery mechanism.”


The My eHealth Record has demonstrated the value of an EHR system once it reaches critical mass, with approximately 50,000 patients registered and clinicians using the system a rate of 30,000 patient record views per month.

Additionally, over two thirds of these views take place in a primary care setting, helping to take pressure of the hospital system.

By comparison Ms Plunkett said the telehealth program is still in its early stages, but even so it is now being used in 47 remote communities, all regional hospitals in the Territory plus six hospitals in the WA Kimberley region.

“It’s a growing field. Some of the services commonly performed at remote clinics with the use of telehealth include pre-admission and post surgical assessments. Renal reviews are also being introduced at the moment.”

Ms Plunkett said another important aspect for the indigenous community of both telehealth and the My eHealth Record is the ability to treat people with dignity and cultural sensitivity.

This can be particularly important in the healthcare setting where the urgency of a situation can make communication difficult for a patient having to deal with linguistic and cultural differences, she said.

“My eHealth Record has been a great cultural fit, hence its widespread adoption. And the uptake of telehealth thus far in remote communities has likewise been incredible.”

For further infomation about

NACCHO eHealth


Bridging the Digital Divide has been produced by the Northern Territory Government Department of Health with additional funding from the federal Digital Regions Initiative.

© Limited


AMA checklist to help prepare ACCH’s for ehealth incentives as much as $12,500 per practice per quarter.


With time running out for general practices to meet the new Practice Incentives Program (PIP) e-health incentive requirements, the AMA today issued a comprehensive checklist to help general practices undertake the many steps, some complex, needed if they are to remain eligible for incentive payments.

From tomorrow, general practices have just 41 business days to meet the new requirements or lose their incentive payments, which can be as much as $12,500 per practice per quarter.

Concerned about the tight deadlines and lack of timely coordinated Government support and advice for GPs, the AMA has fast tracked its checklist to help the general practice community be better informed about what is required of them before 1 February 2013.


NACCHO ehealth Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project

The AMA checklist brings together forms, information and instructions from the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), the Department of Human Services, the National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA), and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The new PIP eHealth incentives for general practice are:

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that compiling all the information into a singlepackage is work that should have been done by the Government and its agencies.

“We hope our checklist will save time and hopefully preserve valuable income for busy general practices around the country,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Our checklist shows clearly that there is a lot of work to be done for medical practices to meet the new PIP e-health requirements.

“Having compiled this information over some considerable time, the AMA was just yesterday advised that general practices will not be able to register for the digital certificate required for secure messaging, which is a necessary step towards eligibility for the PIP e-health incentives, until 10 December 2012.

“We have also discovered that there is no current mechanism to verify the installation of their software, which is another requirement for eligibility.

“The AMA supports the PCEHR, but we also support fair and orderly processes to allowgeneral practices to properly prepare for its full implementation.”

The AMA is currently polling its members on whether they think their general practice willhave the first four ePIP requirements in place by 1 February 2013.

The checklist is available at

30 November