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Credit: My Health Record

Credit: My Health Record

Australia’s My Health Record to include diagnostic imaging reports and assist in better palliative care

Having a My Health record is important because it provides an online summary of a person’s key health information, which is controlled by the individual, allowing access to health care providers involved in a person’s care in order to deliver better health outcomes for patients.

An announcement by the Australian Digital Health Agency discussed how Australians will receive improved diagnostic imaging reports after Perth Radiological Clinic (PRC), NSW Health and Mater Group announce connections to My Health Record. An enhanced access to diagnostic imaging reports will be granted to Australians living in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland after the Perth Radiological Clinic (PRC), NSW Health, and the Mater Group, respectively, have all announced connections to My Health Record.

Diagnostic imaging is an important clinical tool because it allows earlier diagnosis, less invasive treatments, and the ability to monitor progress in patients. Thousands of Australians rely every day on x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and other imaging tests to help healthcare providers make a diagnosis.

PRC is the first private radiology practice in Australia to send diagnostic imaging reports to the My Health Record system as explained by PRC Chairman and radiologist Dr Martin Blake.

Dr Blake furthered, “PRC was established in 1948 and seventy years later we have achieved yet another first for Western Australians. Sharing information with our patients and all clinicians connected with their care is a significant step forward for the community.”

NSW is proud of sending imaging reports to My Health Record, reaching yet another important milestone, as said by eHealth NSW Chief Executive Dr Zoran Bolevich.

“This builds on the significant work we’ve already undertaken including the commencement of uploading pathology records. Doing so via our HealtheNet Clinical Portal is another great step forward in supporting the state’s clinicians to connect patient care across primary and acute settings in NSW and nationally.

Initially patients in Western Sydney, Northern Sydney, Central Coast, and Nepean Blue Mountains local health districts will be able to see radiology reports in their My Health Record. This feature will be extended across most of the state by June,” Dr Bolevich said.

Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Medical Information Officer Associate Professor Naren Gunja said that My Health Record and the HealtheNet Clinical Portal have the promise of connecting healthcare information for patients, allowing visibility across the system and improving patient safety.

“Uploading diagnostic imaging reports to the My Health Record is wonderful as it saves time for GPs who were previously ringing the radiology department to get imaging reports read out or faxed to them,” Associate Professor Gunja said.

More Queensland patients will also gain access to diagnostic reports.  Dr Shane Kelly, Mater Group CEO, shared that Mater is upgrading its systems to connect their pathology and diagnostic imaging practices with My Health Record.

“Our mission drives our concerted pursuit of safe and evidence-based patient care, and this important initiative demonstrates this commitment. This project is well underway and Mater aims to start uploading diagnostic reports around mid-year,” Dr Kelly said.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said that they are aiming at increasing the number of diagnostic and pathology organisations connected to My Health Record. 

“The Agency is encouraging all diagnostic imaging organisations in Australia to connect to My Health Record because these services are leading to increased clinical usefulness and improved health benefits for Australians,” Mr Kelsey said.

In a different announcement by the Australian Digital Health Agency, Australians are being encouraged to include My Health Record in the ‘What Matters Most?’ during the National Palliative Care Week 20 to 26 May 2018. It emphasised that being able to take control of their own health and their digital health information is what matters most to people. For those people requiring palliative care, having My Health Record takes a lot of the pressure off.

Palliative Care Australia CEO Liz Callaghan said that palliative care is not only about care provided in the final stages of life, but also helps those affected to live well with a terminal illness.

According to Ms Callaghan, “People accessing palliative care services often have complex needs and their care team includes many health professionals including pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. My Health Record makes it easier for those professionals to share information about medications, test results, and care plans.”

Agency Chief Clinical Information Officer and Executive General Manager Dr Monica Trujillo said palliative care is for people of any age who have been told that they have a serious illness that cannot be cured; it’s about assisting in managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

“My Health Record can enable important health information including allergies, medical conditions, medicines, pathology and imaging reports to be accessed through one system. The benefits could include reduced hospital admissions, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions,” Dr Trujillo said.

Carers Australia CEO Ara Cresswell said My Health Record can also assist with carers or loved ones who want to assist the patient going through palliative care.

Ms Cresswell added, “My Health Record can lessen the stress of having to remember details of the diagnoses and treatments of others, and help prevent adverse medication events. The ability to upload the patient’s end-of-life preferences can also lessen the distress of those forced into making very difficult decisions on behalf of a family member not able to communicate their own wishes.”

Recently, the Australian Digital Health Agency also released a 3-month opt out period for My Health Record that will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018. Since every Australian will be offered a My Health Record, they can choose not to have one during the said period.

Another announcement was also released earlier, this time about the framework for My Health Record in order to deliver better outcomes for patients. The Framework defines how data on the My Health Record system can be used for research and public health purposes while preserving privacy and security of data in the system.

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