Why AMA chief refused to get a My Health Record
THE President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Tony Bartone, has admitted he does not have a My Health Record even though he is a key advocate of the controversial system.
The Victorian GP is one of the strongest proponents of the online record - which will be given to every Australian unless they opt out by October - and has claimed it will "save lives".
However, he has told News Corp he does not actually have a My Health Record himself even though it was launched six years ago.
And as a doctor, he also concedes he has difficulty using it.
"I don't have a My Health Record because I haven't had the time or opportunity and there hasn't been the inclination to use it until now," he said.
Dr Bartone said he will automatically get a My Health Record when the opt out period ends in October.
Until recently Dr Bartone said he didn't use the My Health Record in his own medical practice because he couldn't access it.
He said he had broadband issues and added Victorian hospitals were not uploading results on to it.
"I'm not selling it as the greatest thing since slice bread, it makes largely no difference to the average patient in his or her consultation with their usual GP," he told News Corp.
Dr Bartone and the government say the centralised health record will help people using multiple medications, those with allergies and chronic illnesses when they see medicos who are not their usual doctor.
Many individual doctors are highly critical of the system and are concerned it will undermine trust in doctors because the legislation allows police and the Australian Taxation Office to access records without a warrant.
The Australian Medical Association signed a contract with the government in 2017 in which it agreed to "encourage members to use the My Health Record …. building use of the system into daily practice" in return of a $910 million increase in Medicare rebates for doctors.
Major privacy concerns have been raised about the record which will have an open access default until people put in a PIN number to protect their details.
If this is not changed, your profile can be viewed by over 650,000 health professionals including podiatrists, physiotherapists etc.
The Opposition wants the opt out period extended and even government MPs are speaking out against the system.
Liberal MP from Melbourne Tim Wilson withdrew from the scheme within days of the opt-out period opening last week.
"My instinctive position should always be, as a liberal, that systems should be opt-in," he said.
We can reveal a report by the government's health safety agency has found major flaws with the record that mean doctors are unlikely to use it and that make it a health safety risk.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare says it is difficult for clinicians to quickly identify new or updated information in a patient's My Health Record.
"It can be time-consuming to repeatedly open separate clinical documents to find specific information," it said.
"This is particularly problematic where a patient record contains a large number of clinical documents, especially for chronically ill or polypharmacy patients.
"Difficulties in navigating and searching large volumes of clinical documents in any paper-based or electronic system can potentially impede appropriate decision-making and management and present clinical safety risks."
It says this presents a moderate risk which means there is "high potential for a clinical safety incident".