E-health software products to be available to GPs within months
GPs can expect to connect to the national e-health record system (NEHRS) within months, according to experts who say clinical software packages incorporating the system will be widely available by September.
The system’s 1 July launch date has been significantly played down over the past six months by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, who has said it would now only signify the date when patients could start to register for a record.
But evidence from National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) officials during senate estimates last week suggested practitioners may not be far behind and Medical Software Industry Australia president Jon Hughes said GPs would be in the vanguard.
“There will probably be a range of general practice clinical software products which support the NEHRS in the market by September,” he said.
“Specialists will also find there are products available that provide NEHRS access, but in general GPs will be the first to have the option to participate.”
RACGP e-health spokesperson Dr Mike Civil said even if clinical software was available by 1 July, for most GPs that date would merely “signal the start of a conversation” about the best way to incorporate the new system into their practice.
“It is going to be a learning process for us and for patients, and it will take teamwork,” he said.
GPRA CEO Amit Vohra said GPs who were unsure about how to manage NEHRS take-up should look to their younger colleagues and registrars for inspiration.
“Registrars are one of the most enthusiastic groups in general practice when it comes to e-health,” he said.
“They quite often have a good working knowledge of what’s out there in terms of software and hardware solutions.” NEHTA clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the organisation would continue to explore opportunities to further engage with registrars, who would play an important role in the uptake of the electronic health record system.