29 January 2019

Phelps raises fresh medicolegal concerns over MHR

Medicolegal MyHealthRecord TheHill

Wentworth MP Dr Kerryn Phelps says the government should drop Thursday’s opt-out deadline for the My Health Record until it can clarify the medico-legal ramifications for doctors.

The former AMA president argues that doctors need a guarantee that they will not be exposed to lawsuits from patients if a mishap arises because of an incorrect or incomplete My Health Record.

Dr Phelps, who presided over the AMA during medical indemnity crisis of the early 2000s, said doctors could run into trouble in a number of ways.

“Some might be mistakes of omission, by not uploading something to MHR, or by making  assumptions that the My Health Record is complete and accurate,” she told The Medical Republic.

“What it’s going to mean for GPs is not only extra time uploading information and getting informed consent for every piece of information that needs to be uploaded.

“It’s also about taking responsibility for what you decide not to upload – and for the consequences of that.”

The Sydney GP said she had been raising her concerns “under the radar” for some time  because she could see large potential for error in a system where patients and their doctors could change and delete information from a MHR.

The ensuing medicolegal problems could outweigh the benefits, she added.

“If somebody can remove a diagnosis or remove a medication from the list, that’s where I say that an incomplete or inaccurate record may be worse than no centralised national data base record at all,” she said.

Dr Phelps spoke to various media over the holiday weekend, saying the government should “put the brakes on” the MHR for another year past the January 31 deadline and “get it right”.

“Let’s say a doctor decides not to upload particular information – maybe they think it’s confidential or sensitive information that they don’t want shared with anyone else – but that information may be necessary to make a medical decision by another doctor,” Dr Phelps told ABC radio on Monday.

“I think it’s getting into very difficult territory.  If there is a mistake that occurs because of an inaccuracy or an incomplete record, who takes responsibility for that?”

She said a number  of medical colleagues shared her concerns over medicolegal considerations, and she had raised the issue with Health Minister Greg Hunt and with the AMA.

“But I am not getting any reliable answers that satisfy my concerns about whose responsibility it is if there is a mishap because something is not uploaded to a health record or something is deleted.”

Speaking to The Medical Republic, she rejected the idea that any system would have imperfections.

“The point that I would make is that medical practice and particularly the medicolegal system has very little tolerance for imperfection in either diagnosis or treatment.

“By our nature and our training, and by our medicolegal understanding, we are not in a position where it’s okay to make mistakes.”




COVID-19 live update
Something to say?

Leave a Reply

6 Comments on "Phelps raises fresh medicolegal concerns over MHR"

Please log in in to leave a comment

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Incomplete MHR could do a lot of damage so this is somewhat critical

1 year 6 months ago

I talked to my MDO about MHR, they regard it as a “legal minefield”. I talked to the AMA about advocating MHR (against my and many other members wishes) and they “stonewalled” my feedback. I talked to my patients who admonished our politicians for their “betrayal of trust”. I am siding with my patients and my conscience and boycotting MHR.

Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn
1 year 6 months ago

There are 400,000 GP visits per day. If during each visit the GP spends an average of 3 minutes on the My Health Record and a GP’s time is worth $100/hour that’s between $500million and $1billion per year. It’s already cost the government over $2billion to develop and run for more than six years

It’s about time the government explained how My Health Record will generate savings greater than this.

Donald Rose
1 year 6 months ago

The issues run a lot deeper. These records are not on your server or a hospital server or a patient’s laptop or phone. They are on the world wide web accessible by any hacker worth his or her salt. I have still to meet a doctor who hasn’t opted out. Do I move in stange circles or are the public being hoodwinked?

1 year 6 months ago

“We are now told that patients can add or delete information from their own My Health Record, that doctors can decide with patients what gets uploaded and what doesn’t,” This has been since the outset not just “now” I disagree with the MHR but let get pour facts correct in any argument