E-health advent will be slow: Plibersek
FEDERAL Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has admitted the take up of electronic health records is likely to be slow in the first few years.
People can register to have an e-health record from July, however, doctors have long argued the opt-in system could prove problematic.
"There are only so many times doctors are going to stop and look to see if their patient has opted in and given them access to their personally-controlled electronic health record [PCEHR]," AMA president Steve Hambleton said on Wednesday.
"If doctors were to find most of their patients had a PCEHR they would be more likely to keep using the system."
Dr Hambleton and Ms Plibersek both addressed a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) health forum in Melbourne.
The minister used her speech to spruik the benefits of e-health, including a reduction in medication mix-ups and less duplication of clinical tests.
But Ms Plibersek said while the digital "foundations" would be ready by 1 July, the e-health journey wouldn't be completed overnight.
"It's not just a matter of flicking a switch and away you go," she told the forum.
"We've always said the rollout of the national e-health system would be in gradual, carefully managed phases."
The AMA wants the government to provide GPs with more support for software upgrades.
Doctors also want to be paid extra for creating and maintaining patients' shared health summaries, which will contain crucial information that all healthcare providers can access.
Labor committed an extra $200 million over two years in last week's budget for e-health.
Meanwhile, the AMA has welcomed news that the Australian National Audit Office has commenced an official audit of Labor's GP super clinics program.
"If the program is found to be failing, the AMA recommends the funding be redirected to support new infrastructure and services for existing general practices," Dr Hambleton said in a statement.