Slow uptake on e-health records system

THE SLOW take-up of Labor's e-health records system by regional and remote Australians could see people having to opt-out of having their health history available online for doctors.

Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton late on Monday released the report on the review of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system.

The review has found the opt-in scheme, created to make it easier for doctors to access health records, has suffered from a poor take-up by "remote Australians" and those with chronic health problems.

Mr Dutton said the problems stemmed from a "rushed early implementation" of the program, but found there remained strong support for the system.

The program is not facing budget cuts, with more than $140 million to back it for at least the next year, while the government considers its response to the review.

"The Abbott Government fully supports the concept of a national eHealth record system but it needs to be effective, functional and easy for all Australians to use, while being clinically relevant to our doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare providers," Mr Dutton said.

To combat the slow response of remote Australians creating their personal online health record, the review has recommended the government move to an "opt-out" model.

Such a change would mean people would have to notify the Department of Health if they didn't want their health details available, but aims to protect the information on the records.

It also proposed an "education campaign" to help tell people what the change would mean, as well as changing the name of the system to My Health Record.


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