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Changes to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record and benefits for rural patients and providers

The 2015/16 Federal Budget allocated $485 million over three years for the redevelopment of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). The proposed redevelopment strategy will include: new governance arrangements for eHealth; a rename of the PCEHR to My Health Record; improved usability and clinical content and a series of trials of participation including an opt-out system. It is anticipated that one of these trials will be conducted in rural and remote areas.

Health care providers in rural areas are particularly encouraged to use the PCEHR given the benefits for patients who have to travel away from home for specialist medical attention and with higher rates of chronic disease. Access to health information stored in the My Health Record, including shared health summaries and event summaries, is also useful in areas dependent on an outreach or locum workforce.

To help increase healthcare provider knowledge and confidence in the use of the My Health Record system, the Australian Government is developing a range of training and education resources. This includes online resources, access to an online training environment using simulated patient information, and face-to-face training if needed. Regular updates can be found at ehealth.gov.au.