Dr Mukesh HaikerwalGP Foundation spoke to Dr Mukesh Haikerwal (Order of Australia and former federal President of the Australian Medical Association) on eHealth and how this affects GPs. Dr Haikerwal is an advocate for eHealth with significant expertise in the area and up until recently holding the post of National Clinical Lead with NETHA (National EHealth Transition Authority), as well as still being a practising GP in the inner west of Melbourne.


In recent months there has been great criticism of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), with issues surrounding uploading, provision of correct information and potentially misleading records.  Dr Haikerwal states that the system has “great potential if correctly implemented and used as intended”. Dr Haikerwal is a staunch supporter and advocate of healthcare and maintains that eHealth will transform the way that medicine is practiced.


Dr Haikerwal believes, “that for the eHealth system to be functional they need to encompass Utility, Useability and Usefulness”. Many GPs do not use the system as intended, believing that the system is “too hard or confusing” and are not engaging with it. Technology and eHealth are the future and when used in a successful fashion can allow for more effective healthcare delivery.


Dr Haikerwal states that being able to use technology and eHealth to deliver better patient care through things such as TeleHealth for people who are infirm (house bound, nursing homes etc.), and accessing hospital records more easily would enable GPs to better coordinate care and would aid in reducing the risks for hospital readmissions.


NEHTA needs to build on the current system to ensure a safe, useable option for GPs. Part of the issue is that GPs are in charge of making sure that the data is complete, accurate and uploaded, however the GP does not have control over what happens with the record; the patient has the ultimate say and can easily hide / remove data. This in itself is a major barrier to useability and does not give any incentive to encourage GPs to promote this. Given that the Governmental review of the program was completed earlier this year, the release of the findings will greatly impact the application and useability for GPs.


“EHealth is the way of the future,” says Dr Haikerwal and will transform the way health and healthcare is received and how medicine is practiced; however this can only happen once properly executed and understood. A key to its success pivots on the useability and usefulness aspects through ensuring that the application to healthcare is correctly implemented.

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