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International EMR, EHR — Insider’s Perspective on NeHTA

Posted on September 6, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

A recent reader recently commented on my earlier post, Government Sponsored E-health Initiatives, and brought my attention to his blog, Australian Health Information Technology, which focuses on the Australian government’s EMR initiative NeHTA.

David More MB, PhD, FACHI, describes himself as a ‘dissident’ who is a bit worried about this organisation.  Have to say that he sounds like a fun guy (and certainly very interesting guy) already.  You may want to poke around his site to get more information about NeHTA in general.  He posts interesting tid-bits such as noting the number of weeks late that NeHTA is in delivering their plans for what sounds like stage I of their version of the US Meaningful Use plan.  Dr. More also cites breaking news articles regarding government EHR plans from both Australia and the US.  Bon apetite!

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

Australia Moving Ahead With Massive PHR Project

Posted on April 2, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Recently, I wrote a piece for this blog arguing that the PHR model was at a turning point — and didn’t hide my doubts that this approach had much of a future.

In response, one of our readers was kind enough to tip us off to a massive PHR project which had never shown up on my radar. Apparently, the Australian government is well into building the infrastructure to support a nationally-available PCEHR (personally controlled electronic health record).

The $467 million project, which is undergoing its second wave of testing and development, will make PCEHRs available to consumers by July 1, 2012.  Nine sites are running related projects, including:

*   A system making prescribing and dispensing data available to 2 million citizens and their providers

*   A project targeting data sharing among palliative care patients and clinicians

*   A site focused on improved health for a population of about 9,000 mothers and newborns

*   A consumer-oriented portal, serving chronically-ill patients, integrating patient-entered medical data into a “Health Book”

The PCEHR project comes as Australian health officials undertake a package of national health reforms, including efforts to increase access to primary care and a $20 billion investment in improving public hospitals.

While I still doubt that the current US approach to personal health records makes sense — who decided consumers would bother with a sort of “extra” set of records designed to make key data available in a poorly-defined emergency situation? — rolling out PHRs aggressively as a key component of a primary care-oriented national health reform makes a great deal of sense.

I’m eager to see how Aussie citizens respond next year when the PCEHR goes live.  If consumers are convinced that the personal record is the key to better health, I’m sure they’ll jump on board.