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More pathology labs and pharmacies in Australia connecting to My Health Record

Primary Health Care, Australian Clinical Labs, and seven other pathology software vendors and labs have signed agreements with the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) to share reports with their patients via My Health Record.

This announcement made on November 27, follows Sonic Healthcare’s agreement to connect with My Health Record in June. The Agency made a private sector market offer to support other pathology software vendors. This offer included labs managing their own software to update and connect with My Health Record.

In addition to Primary Health Care and Australian Clinical Labs, the seven pathology software vendors and labs who have also signed agreements with the Agency are: Cirdan, Genome.One, Infinity Path, McCauley Software, Medical-Objects, MyHealthTest and Victorian Cytology Service.

Primary Health Care CEO, Dr. Malcolm Parmenter, said that today’s announcement is significant because the company’s laboratories provide pathology testing in every state and territory of Australia. He said that they are looking forward to beginning the process of sharing pathology reports with patients from early next year and expect the number of their laboratories participating in this initiative to steadily increase over the course of 2018.

Australian Clinical Labs Medical Director, Dr. Tony Landgren, said “As the largest provider of pathology services to public and private hospitals in Australia, being able to provide reports into My Health Record will greatly enhance the continuity of care, and allow doctors to make decisions that save and improve patient’s lives.”

Agency CEO, Tim Kelsey, said, “The largest diagnostic organisations in Australia have now agreed to share their test reports with Australian consumers. We are working to deliver a My Health Record for all Australians next year, unless they choose not to have one. Health consumers will benefit from this significant commitment by the pathology industry and their software partners.” 

The Australian government allocated AU$374.2 million in its 2017-18 Budget to be invested over two years, for the nationwide rollout of an opt-out model of My Health Record and to ensure every Australian is a part of it, unless they choose not to be.  Large private sector medical service providers continue to join My Health Record. 

Chemist Warehouse and Corum connecting to My Health Record

 A few days earlier on November 24, Chemist Warehouse and Corum representing 1,000 pharmacies  announced their upcoming connection to My Health Record system in 2018. Chemist Warehouse operates a retail chain of 400 pharmacies representing 30 per cent of the community pharmacy market, while Corum is a leading provider of software solutions to community pharmacies and pharmacy groups.

By connecting to My Health Record, pharmacists can have access to timely information on a person’s current medications, whether dispensed at hospital discharge, or through any community pharmacy in the country, enabling them to play a more integrated role in medications management and coordinated care.

Every community pharmacy software vendor has now signed up to the Community Pharmacy Software Industry Partnership to connect to the My Health Record system.

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said lauded the announcement saying, “Today’s announcement is a big step forward in realising the Agency’s vision of comprehensive medicines information in My Health Record, which will in turn provide improved health benefits for all Australians.”

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Shane Jackson said that My Health Record is a game changer in the clinical care delivered by pharmacists. On November 9, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced a partnership with the peak national body representing pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). 

Chemist Warehouse and Corum will join Minfos, POS Works, and RxOne who recently connected with My Health Record, while Fred IT integrated its Fred Dispense product in 2013. Other software providers are well advanced in their development work and are expected to integrate with My Health Record system in the near future.

Moreover, community, hospital, and academic pharmacists have formed a Pharmacists Digital Health Leaders Network to encourage meaningful and clinical use of My Health Record by pharmacists and pharmacies. The forty network members will support local pharmacists in their area to engage with and use My Health Records through digital health workshops and education events.

In July 2017, the Australian Digital Health Agency and Pharmacy Guild of Australia entered into a collaborative partnership aimed at driving adoption and use of the My Health Record system by community pharmacies (supported by education and training). 

Featured image: Newtown grafitti/ CC BY 2.0

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