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Digital trials to provide post-hospital support to Australians by reducing medication errors

Patients from all over Australia will benefit from 15 new projects that will utilise the information from a consenting patient’s My Health Record to improve the delivery of their healthcare.

As announced by the Australian Digital Health Agency, digital trials will be conducted to help patients manage their medication better after they leave the hospital in order to reduce unplanned and early hospital readmission due to medication errors.

The A$8.5 million Digital Health Test Beds program will be testing new approaches to chronic health, palliative care, and post hospital support.

Eastern Health and Monash University are undertaking a trial that will help patients manage their medication better after they leave hospital. The trial will involve a lot of participants with more than 290 community pharmacies and 5,000 patients taking part.

Community pharmacists will be connected, by the projects, to information in hospitals so that they can help the patients with the medicines being given to them as they transition from being in the hospital to being home.

Healthcare providers will be able to share useful patient-specific information about the medicines during the transition period from the hospital to the community.

Based from experience, patients who leave hospitals on new medications can find the information on how much they should take and when they should take it, very confusing. Because of these medication errors, almost a quarter of a million Australians are hospitalised.

The objective of this program is to reduce unplanned and early hospital readmission brought about by medication errors by utilising evidence-based research.

A$ 374.2 million is being invested by the Turnbull Government to expand Australia’s My Health Record for every Australian. My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual’s health information.

Having a My Health Record allows a patient’s important health information such as allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details and scan reports to be accessed through one system. Healthcare providers such as doctors, pharmacists, and hospital staff can securely access the record online when they need to treat a patient especially during cases of emergency.

Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record by the end of 2018 unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt out period that will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018.

Data as of 24 June 2018 shows that 5.89 million Australians have already registered for a My Health Record; a total of 12,763 healthcare organisations are registered including general practices, hospitals, pharmacies and aged care services; and 20.7 million prescription and dispense records have been uploaded.

Widespread support for my Health Record is being given by national health peak bodies such as the Consumers Health Forum, Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association.

An earlier announcement from the Australian Digital Health Agency highlighted the national education and training package on My Health Record that is being delivered to hospital pharmacists, which aims to inform them of the My Health Record expansion in 2018.

A previous communication by the Australian Digital Health Agency highlighted how Australians living in WA, NSW, and Queensland would be granted access to diagnostic imaging reports. The report also discussed how the My Health Record system caters to the complex needs of palliative care patients.

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.

Similarly, an earlier release threw light on the framework for My Health Record that allows it 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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