Personally Controlled E-health Record (PCEHR)

The federal government has allocated an extra $50 million over two years to assist Medicare Locals to help GPs use the eHealth records system.


Personally Controlled E-health Record (PCEHR)

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced $50 million over two years will be made available to Medicare Locals – networks that support frontline health providers – to assist GPs and other health care providers to adopt and use the Gillard Government’s new eHealth records system.

Ms Plibersek said the funding was part of a package to support doctors and other health professionals to help rollout the new system.

“Family doctors co-ordinate healthcare for most patients, so we know they have an important role to play in the eHealth records system,” Ms Plibersek said.

“eHealth records will ensure doctors can access a patient’s medical information in one convenient online location, reducing errors and making diagnosis and treatment quicker and easier.”

Ms Plibersek said the funding for Medicare Locals will enable them to provide practical training to GP practices and other health care providers and to drive awareness and consumer literacy of the potential of eHealth records at a regional level.

“The practical training will include how to get the practice ready for the eHealth record including how to achieve data quality, the registration process for eHealth records, engagement and support of the practice’s patients.”

“To assist providers link up to the system, Medicare Locals also will work with other health care providers – allied health, nursing, and community based specialists – as well as with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, non-government organisations, professional associations and hospitals.”

The $50 million is the final piece of a support package for doctors to help rollout the new eHealth records system and is in addition to the Government’s $233.7 million investment announced in the Budget.

It complements the three other initiatives already announced, which are:

  • From February 2013, up to $50,000 in Practice Incentive Program payments for each practice that shows it is capable of: (1) secure messaging, (2) integrating healthcare identifiers into electronic practice records, (3) using data records and clinical coding of diagnoses, (4) the capability to upload Shared Health Summaries and Event Summaries using compliant eHealth record software, and (5) electronic transfer of prescriptions to a prescription exchange service. Further consultation with the profession and professional associations will occur in the coming weeks about how the criteria will apply in practice.
  • The ability for GPs to use longer consultations (Medicare Benefit Scheme general attendance items B, C and D) when creating or adding to a shared health summary on an eHealth record which involves taking a patient’s medical history as part of a consultation.
  • The continuation of the Practice Nurse Incentive Program which provides up to $125,000 per year to eligible general practices towards the cost of a practice nurse. Practices can choose to have their practice nurse talk to patients about the eHealth record, and help patients set up their record.

From 1 July 2012, interested Australians will be able to register to create their own eHealth record.

What is a PCEHR?

A Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) is a secure, electronic record of your medical history, stored and shared in a network of connected systems. The PCEHR will bring key health information from a number of different systems together and present it in a single view.

Information in a PCEHR will be able to be accessed by you and your authorised healthcare providers. With this information available to them, healthcare providers will be able to make better decisions about your health and treatment advice. Over time you will be able to contribute to your own information and add to the recorded information stored in your PCEHR.

The PCEHR will not hold all the information held in your doctor’s records but will complement it by highlighting key infomation. In the future, as the PCEHR becomes more widely available, you will be able to access your own health information anytime you need it and from anywhere in Australia.


Potential Training Funding

Potential funding may be available to applicants proposing new and innovative projects that clearly demonstrate enhanced uptake and future sustainability to the Initiative. As a guide, the funding may be similar to below.

Eligible organisations must demonstrate the capacity of their project to provide specific PCEHR supports to rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas, with preference towards national-level coverage.

The provision of training to health practitioners is vital to increasing uptake to the Initiative. Training developed must encompass the use of PCEHR technology to enable effective, appropriate online video conference consultations.  Training will need to address a range of issues, including the clinical aspects of PCEHR services as well as addressing patient privacy, cultural sensitivities and information on protocols. Activities should provide continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to health practitioners through the development of training modules in PCEHR as part of that organisation’s CPD role.


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