National Electronic Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) states that the Concept of Operations (ConOps) document provides an overview of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system and how it will work, yet it fails to recognise that healthcare goes beyond medical practice.
"Regrettably, it does not tell dentists how they will engage with the content of their patients' health records, as dental software vendors have not yet started work on configuring dental practice software to interact with the PCEHR" stated Dr Shane Fryer, President ADA Inc.
Dr Fryer went on to say that "NEHTA advises that the ConOps has been updated following public and stakeholder consultation on an April 2011 draft of this document; however, most of the matters raised by the dental profession have been ignored."
Since it was first discussed, the ADA has raised concerns that:
- health consumers can still hide essential health information, without which practitioners may make decisions that lead to harmful outcomes;
- data governance and professional support issues were considered out of scope for the document, and no planning has yet been made visible regarding this;
- practitioners from different disciplines have not yet been provided with opportunities to develop insight into each other's information requirements, and health consumers do not yet understand what information various health professions need to be able to provide them with optimal care; and
- there is no target roadmap showing milestones for each of the health disciplines to engage meaningfully with the PCEHR.
The plan may be that from July 2012, all Australians who choose to can register for a PCEHR. However, if they are patients with chronic diseases who need their dentist to have access to their medical records, there is little likelihood that their dentist will be able to do so meaningfully. It may take another year or two after that date before dentists can routinely make use of the vital information in a patient's health summary record.