After reading pages and pages of the government's personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) draft plan of operations, I can't help feeling like we're on a freight train that's either heading towards a cliff or doesn't have an engine anymore.
The reason for this is the extremely convoluted nature of the system, which I feel will either lead to absolutely no one adopting it, or a breakdown later on because no one understands what's going on behind the scenes.
I mean, seriously, why should we have to have a passcode — let's say Code A — to say whether a provider can access our information and then another passcode — let's call it Code B — to say an organisation can access our limited documentation? You can also decide what you want to do in the case of a forgotten passcode. But the options are different for Code A and Code B.
Why does the set of organisations that can see our information and the set of organisations that can see limited documentation need to be different?
I know we're trying to protect people's privacy and give people options. But I have to refer to four letters: KISS.
Keep it simple, stupid.
As consumers, we like things that work and are easy. That's why the iPhone has such a following. Because it just made sense when people used it.
Meanwhile, nothing about the access passcode rigmarole makes sense to me. And it's not the only thing in the plan that seems needlessly convoluted. After all, we're making it opt-in, so the government should spend time on explaining the benefits, and spruiking a simple safety procedure, not making multiple procedures to make privacy advocates swoon but that consumers won't use.
And if people don't use it, why should providers bother taking it up? Why should e-health vendors take the time and effort to make their software PCEHR compliant? And if that doesn't happen, the benefits don't happen. So we might as well have had a big money party where we all jumped on a pile of bills before setting fire to it.
Yes, we want people to protect their information. So we should make sure that they only allow providers to see our records, especially if they have a condition that could be considered sensitive. And we follow the audit trail, as has been pointed out.
But we also want people to use it so that we can ease our strained health system. So, let's be sensible.