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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):707-13. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002068. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

A personally controlled electronic health record for Australia.

Author information

Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local, Burwood East, Victoria, Australia Monash University Department of General Practice, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
School of Health Information Science, University of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada ASE Consulting Pty Ltd., London, UK National E-Health Transition Authority, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



On July 1, 2012 Australia launched a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) designed around the needs of consumers. Using a distributed model and leveraging key component national eHealth infrastructure, the PCEHR is designed to enable sharing of any health information about a patient with them and any other health practitioner involved in their care to whom the patient allows access. This paper discusses the consumer-facing part of the program.


Design of the system was through stakeholder consultation and the development of detailed requirements, followed by clinical design assurance.


Patients are able to access any posted information through a web-accessible 'consumer portal.' Within the portal they are able to assert access controls on all or part of their record. The portal includes areas for consumers to record their own personal information.


The PCEHR has the potential to transform the ability of patients to actively engage in their own healthcare, and to enable the emerging partnership model of health and healthcare in medicine. The ability to access health information traditionally kept within the closed walls of institutions also raises challenges for the profession, both in the language clinicians choose and the ethical issues raised by the changed roles and responsibilities.


The PCEHR is aimed at connecting all participants and their interventions, and is intended to become a system-wide activity.

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