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Pharmacists blame GPs for e-health deadlock
PHARMACISTS have charged GPs with bringing e-health to a standstill, claiming doctors are not up to speed with the latest innovations in e-health technologies.
Speaking at the recent Pharmacy Australia Congress, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Warwick Plunkett said pharmacists had taken e-health as far as possible, and it was now up to GPs to get on board.
“Until doctors get e-health up and running in its full extent we will not be able to go any further,” he said.
While the advantages of e-prescribing were being enjoyed by some doctors, there would be even greater advantages in allowing relevant patient information to be shared electronically with pharmacists, he said.
“I think it will take a lot to persuade [doctors] to go down this path,” Mr Plunkett said.
“It’s no good to have computers on desks, they have to want to connect [with other health professionals], which is a major issue – generally the medical profession is very conservative in terms of [sharing] patient information.”
Dr John Bennett, chair of the RACGP e-health working group, said GPs had higher uptake of e-health than any other health professional.
“I would like to think GPs and the college are the ones that have done the most in that area and that they have had the highest uptake of e-health programs,” he said.
However he understood the frustration of pharmacists, who had been responsive to the e-health movement.
“Pharmacists are at the mercy of those upstream – they can only make use of an electronic prescription if it is in an appropriate electronic format and we recognise that there needs to be a much greater uptake [of this] more broadly across the whole profession,” he said.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, clinical lead for the National e-Health Transition Authority, also defended GPs’ records, saying they were among the leaders in the uptake of e-health.
He argued that it was specialists and allied health professionals that needed the encouragement to sign up to e-health initiatives.
“[GPs] would love to be sending information across to all of our specialist colleagues – medical and non-medical – but the problem is that most of them aren’t connected up,” he said.