A senate committee has heard that a Medicare rebate will not be offered to doctors to set up new eHealth records, leaving patients to cover the expense themselves.
According to News Limited, the committee stated last night (March 19) that the opt-in Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system – available to all Australians, regardless of their level of health insurance – may not attract enough patients to make it viable.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton explained that at present, patients will be required to pay the full cost of establishing a record on the new system, which is due to start on July 1.
Dr Hambleton is also concerned that doctors around the country may not be equipped to perform the task, with many doctors still lacking the computer software needed to upload the records.
"You might find if you're a patient and you walk into your local GP that there isn't a way of uploading it to the eHealth record," he told The Australian (March 20).
The news source reported on February 28 that the price of implementing the new system had exceeded its original budget, with costs rising to $760 million.