Does the PCEHR meet the GP Data Governance Council criteria?

The General Practice Data Governance Council is “committed to profession-led governance regarding the issues of data collection activities in general practice,” in particular secondary use of patient data generated through clinical care delivery to patients.

GPs and consumers have voiced concerns with regards to secondary use of data uploaded to the PCEHR, so I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the PCEHR and see if it meets the goals of the Data Governance Council.

As outlined in an earlier post, it appears PCEHR data can be used by the government for:

  • Law enforcement purposes
  • Health provider indemnity insurance cover purposes
  • Research
  • Public health purposes
  • Other purposes authorised by law

The eight goals of the General Practice Data Governance Council are in the context of secondary use of data from general practice. They are listed below, followed by my pass or fail verdict with brief comments.

1. Protect the needs and interests of all data stakeholders

FAIL – The PCEHR Act 2012 and the PCEHR participation contract increase liability for health professionals and remove control by consumers and clinicians.

2. Ensure integrity in the use of data for secondary purposes

FAIL – There is lack of information about how the data in the PCEHR is used outside the general practice setting.

3. Increase availability of data and information to support general practice and patient health outcomes

PASS – It is expected that in the future hospitals, specialists, allied health providers and others will be uploading information (this is currently only happening on a small scale). This should eventually support general practice and patient health outcomes.

4. Promote consistent approaches to management of data and data requests

FAIL – Although the process of data requests and uploading etc is consistent and clearly outlined, there is lack of information about the how the system operator (read: Department of Health) deals with the data.

5. Promote compliance with privacy legislation

PASS – It appears the PCEHR is compliant with privacy laws.

6. Provide open and transparent processes

FAIL – There is a lack of information about secondary use of PCEHR data by the government or other organisations with access to the PCEHR database.

7. Identify opportunities for secondary data use

PASS – The government has certainly been creative in identifying opportunities for secondary use. Consumers and clinicians are generally not aware of this and specific informed consent is missing.

8. Promote data quality improvement processes

FAIL – Although quality assurance and improvement processes may exist within NEHTA or the Department of Health, they have not been made public to the best of my knowledge.


Fail x5, pass x3.  This may explain the lack of enthusiasm by GPs. In my opinion the uptake of the PCEHR will improve if these eight goals are met.

Feel free to agree/disagree and leave a comment below.

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