GPs Unlikely to be Reimbursed for Information Uploads

The My Health Record allows patient health information to be accessed by healthcare providers across all sectors. The aim of the service is to provide better coordinated care for patients and reduce issues such as medication errors.

General Practitioners are responsible for ensuring the information they upload to My Health Record is correct to the best of their knowledge. It is recognised that the curation of accurate health records takes time, and subsequently questions have been raised around the potential reimbursement to GPs for loss of income due to not being able to see patients as a result of increased data transfer.

Doctor Using Laptop And Electronic Medical Record (emr) System.

In a position statement released in July of this year, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners announced support for My Health Record but also identified a number of issues including that incentives should be service-based and paid to the individual healthcare provider responsible for uploading data.

The Australian Department of Health this week stated that there are no plans to reimburse GPs for the time spent uploading patient data to My Health Record. Administrators of the My Health Record system and Department of Health staff have stated that using the system will actually save GPs time in not having to search for patient information or organise administrative staff to chase documents related to patients, particularly for patients with multiple health conditions and/or who see a number of different healthcare providers.

The Australian Digital Health Agency, which has been tasked with improving health outcomes through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, states that an internal survey of over 5000 GPs found that 60 percent of them reported one or more clinical benefits from using My Health Record, including reduced duplication of tests.

Currently the uploading of data to My Health Record is covered by the Practice Incentive Payment – eHealth Initiative (ePIP). The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) argues that ePIP incentives are paid to the practice and not to individual GPs. Additionally the ePIP payment is only paid to practices which meet all five criteria, of which unloading a percentage of a practice’s generated shared health summaries is only one of the five criteria requirements.

In 2017 around 1440 of the 5000 practices registered for the incentive program had to repay ePIP funding after failing to meet the required amount of shared health summaries uploads. The amount repaid by each GP clinic was on average $9,000.

The RACGP offers a range of resources to assist general practice in their use of My Health Record.