Actions Across Australia Case Study – My Health Record

1. Health information that is available whenever and wherever it is needed

As part of co-producing the Framework for Action, the Australian Digital Health Agency asked organisations across the digital health ecosystem to tell us the projects, innovations, investments and new ways of working they are working on that will progress the seven strategic priorities in the strategy. Below is a summary of some of the actions organisations told us are already underway to ensure Health information is available whenever and wherever it is needed.

Your health in your hands

Every Australian will be given a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one by the end of 2018. Healthcare organisations, governments, and industry are working together to ensure all Australians have the opportunity to benefit from the My Health Record. 

The expansion of the My Health Record is supported by states and territories across Australia, and all states and territories are driving to increase connections to My Health Record across their healthcare facilities. Acute care coverage in My Health Record is a particular focus, as well as uploading pathology and diagnostic imaging (DI) reports, which will considerably enhance the clinical value of My Health Record.

ACT Health is developing a communication and engagement strategy to drive awareness and knowledge of the My Health Record and increase viewing by health practitioners across all ACT Health facilities, and NSW Health is continuing its program of further integrations, enhancements and information sharing. Queensland Health has ensured its hospitals can send discharge summaries to a patient’s My Health Record if the patient has registered with the national system. Queensland Health’s Viewer application, which provides healthcare providers with read-only web-based access to consolidated clinical information, sources its information from a number of systems, including the My Health Record system. 

The Northern Territory Department of Health is funding the Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program (CCSRP) to replace four existing clinical information systems that are between 15 and 25 years old and are beyond end-of-life. The CCSRP will create a jurisdiction-wide single integrated client-centric health electronic record system for NT Health, allowing better connectivity between NT Health records and the My Health Record system. WA Health is continuing to connect metropolitan and country regions to the My Health Record system, which has seen all of their healthcare services that have inpatient beds connected, as well as a number of remote clinics, community health sites and nursing posts. 

SA Health is finalising the strategy for viewing the My Health Record across healthcare facilities in the state, and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is committing to increase the number of hospitals contributing to the My Health Record. The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services is expanding connectivity to include all public hospitals by late-2018. The Tasmanian Health Service is introducing My Health Record viewing through the state-wide Digital Medical Record solution and increasing uploading capability to support pathology and diagnostic reports.

Leading healthcare companies and peak organisations are also taking action to prepare for the expansion of the My Health Record system. Primary Health Care’s pathology division is heavily engaged with the Agency, having signed a contract to deliver connectivity to My Health record of reports from their laboratories. Pathology teams have formulated draft education plans for all personnel within the businesses who will be affected and a national program to revise their many request forms to accommodate the opt out notice requirement is well advanced. 

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is also working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to increase clinical use of the My Health Record System through building Community Pharmacy capabilities. This initiative will mean consumers will be able to use their My Health Record when processing their prescriptions giving pharmacists more options to use their expertise and provide an extra layer of medication safety and remove paper from the process.

The Aboriginal Health Council of SA (AHCSA) will be working with the Australian Digital Health Agency on preparing SA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) and their Communities for the expansion and opt-out process.

In order for clinicians to make use of My Health Record in their daily workflows, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Association of Practice Management have education packages and information to increase awareness of the My Health Record expansion. This information will help practice managers in registering patients for My Health Record and GPs to understand how the My Health Record will enhance their day to day work. 

Australia’s Primary Health Networks are also strong advocates of My Health Record, working with their stakeholders to increase My Health Record awareness by developing communication and engagement strategies to drive awareness and knowledge of the My Health Record. The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association is encouraging uptake of My Health Record for patients to assist with chronic disease management. 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has e-learning modules focusing on the My Health Record for Pharmacists. These modules outline the of the role My Health Record system in e-medication management and how My Health Record will be incorporated in the workplace, including a module on responding to patient privacy concerns with My Health Record and medicines reconciliation. Includes the work place dispensing information functionality and clinical implications of inaccuracies in dispensing records uploaded to a patient's My Health Record.

Better health outcomes through My Health Record

The My Health Record system will deliver better health outcomes for patients and their treating doctors and specialists. My Health Record data will support health policy experts to better forecast emerging health trends and develop better health strategies to benefit Australians patients.

My Health Record data is stored in Australia, and protected by high grade security protocols to detect and mitigate against external threats. The system is tested frequently to ensure that these mechanisms are robust and working as designed.

To inform how My Health Record data can be used and protected for public health and research purposes, the Australian Government has developed a framework in consultation with consumers, clinicians, medical researchers, industry experts, privacy advocates and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. To respect people’s rights to privacy, individual consumers who have a My Health Record will be able to opt-out of the use of their My Health record system data for secondary purposes. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) will be appointed as the organisation to manage and release datasets for the My Health Record. This role for the AIHW aligns with their strategic goals and their 30 years of experience as a leader in health and welfare data and experts in value-added analyses.

Furthering consumer engagement with My Health Record 

The My Health Record will be an unprecedented platform for innovation in the provision of digital apps and tools that will support Australians and their health providers to improve health and wellbeing. Technology companies are delivering consumer friendly devices, apps and services to help consumers to manage their health and care needs.

Technology company Haulta has developed Wanngi, a mobile app for consumers which connects to My Health Record. iDataMap Pty Ltd is integrating My Health Record into their RadCard HealthCare System, which securely carries and displays personal health data and records including diagnostic quality medical images. Backbeach Software is developing an easy to use medical record viewer for consumers and clinicians.

Best Practice’s patient app Best Health will provide consumers with timely access to their health information, and provide a secure communication mechanism between them and healthcare provider. The app will also offer access to current and relevant healthcare education materials.

Australia leads the world in research of the eye disease Macular Degeneration that affects a significant number of Australians over 50. IT company Toukanlabs has developed an ophthalmology specific system that monitors and analyses patient trials to help reduce or prevent macular degeneration blindness in Australians and are exploring having the data collected integrated with the My Health Record. 

Technology companies are working towards systems to assist in privacy and consent of data collected. Axonium’s Anonymous Patient Consent allows ethical secondary use of health information by offering patient’s the opportunity to consent for the non-primary use of their data, available for research and development and other interests like Health Data Consumers for secondary use.

Digital healthcare startup TYDE, which has an app that connects with the My Health Record, also has an initiative to preserve trust, privacy and enabling the secure use of My Health Record and health information more broadly by implementing UMA 2.0 and Open ID Connect, as well as running an promotional and educational campaign regarding privacy and consent to help raise awareness.

Public advocacy organisation Future Wise addresses the privacy implications of health technology, and run an ongoing program of advocating for digital health technology which will support clinicians while maintaining the highest standards of patient confidentiality.

Read more - National Digital Health Strategy Activities