GLITCHES in patient identity details for Australia's new e-health system have been found in about a third of cases nationally, according to a report the federal Health Department refuses to release.
The secret report indicates patient identity information held by state public hospitals frequently fails to match the data that Medicare Australia holds on the same individuals. Differences in the spelling of names or other variations, such as the use of Robert and Bob, can pose a significant obstacle as the system requires an exact match before individuals can get e-health access.
The department has refused a request by The Age to release the report under the Freedom of Information Act, stating the report was subject to confidentiality undertakings, given by the IBM company that prepared the document. The confidentiality undertakings are understood to have been made to state and federal agencies and no individual patient records were involved.
Insiders with knowledge of the project say the refusal to reveal the information has more to do with avoiding government embarrassment about more setbacks in the problem-plagued e-health development.
A department spokeswoman said the report "does not show up problems in relation to security and safety" of the new personally controlled electronic health record system. "And it does not contain matters in any way that identifies patients."