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15 Aug 2013

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the resignation of Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, head of clinical leadership and stakeholder management, from the National Electronic Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) raises serious concerns about clinical input to decision-making in the implementation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).

The resignations of Dr Haikerwal, a former AMA President and NHHRC Commissioner, and other clinical leads, including Dr Nathan Pinksier, come amid reports that the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) is taking over engagement with the medical profession and IT industry over the design of the PCEHR.

Dr Hambleton said that the AMA has long advocated that the success of the PCEHR depended on how it met clinical needs.

“The PCEHR simply will not be effective if doctors – the people who patients trust most with their health care – do not have a say on what goes on the electronic medical record and how that information is accessed and used, and by whom.

“This has been a sticking point for the medical profession all along.  That is why the AMA has pushed for a more consultative approach to the PCEHR implementation with priority to be given to ailments, treatments, tests, and medications.

“This is the sort of expertise that Dr Haikerwal and his colleagues brought to NEHTA and the whole e-health sector.

“Mukesh has been a passionate advocate for e-health in this country, on behalf of doctors and patients, for more than a decade.

“The AMA is proud of his direction and leadership in this important area of medicine, and we are disturbed that he has chosen to resign.”

Dr Hambleton said that this unrest and disquiet in the health sector comes at a difficult time.

“There is still much more work to be done to refine the e-health systems as they are developed and rolled out,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Clinical guidance and input remains crucial to a successful implementation.

“There are still some fundamental aspects of the design that means the PCEHR is not useful from the medical practitioners' perspective.

“If the system is not being used by clinicians, we need to know why, and then make the necessary changes.

“We cannot afford to lose the significant investment that the nation has made in this important health infrastructure.

“With the Government in caretaker mode, DoHA and NEHTA must urgently assure the health sector and the public that the PCEHR remains on track, and that clinicians will continue to have a major role in decision-making,” Dr Hambleton said.

 


15 August 2013

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                            Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753 

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Published: 15 Aug 2013