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Significant progress made in integration of My Health Record with pharmacies in Australia

Pharmacists can now upload dispense records and view hospital discharge summaries, shared health summaries, and allergy information to My Health Record using enhanced Minfos, POS Works, and RxOne software. All three provide software solutions for pharmacies.

This is a result of close cooperation between the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) and the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA). It follows the launch of the Community Pharmacy Software Industry Partnership earlier this year. (In July, a partnership was initiated with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.)

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

My Health Record also provides pharmacists access to clinically relevant information from other healthcare providers including hospital discharge summaries, GP shared health summaries, and consumer-entered information about over-the-counter medications and other supplements.

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said the announcement represents an important milestone to promote the safer use of medicine – and reduce the estimated 230,000 hospital admissions each year due to medication errors. (Click here for OpenGov’s recent interview with Mr. Kelsey where he talks about how the Agency is working to create a seamlessly-connected digital healthcare system for Australia.)

“I congratulate Minfos, POS Works, and RxOne for introducing this important capability. Pharmacists using these clinical systems will enjoy greater access to medical information about their customers and will seamlessly contribute important information on dispensed medicines in their customers’ My Health Records,” Mr. Kelsey said.

Other software providers are well advanced in their development work and are expected to integrate with My Health Record system in the coming weeks. Mr. Kelsey said that an enormous amount of work has gone into co-designing a solution with consumers, healthcare providers and the software industry, leading to this milestone for software organisations who took up the Agency’s industry offer.

MSIA President Emma Hossack said programs involving private enterprise and the government depend upon goodwill and trust.

“This project is proof of the new working relationship between the Agency and industry. It demonstrates what can be achieved in a relatively short time and augurs well for other jointly owned digital health improvements,” Ms. Hossack said.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National (PSA) President Shane Jackson said that conformant software is an important first step in connecting more community pharmacy software providers to My Health Record.

Co-sponsor of the Agency’s Medications Safety Programme Dr Steve Hambleton said that the addition of Minfos, POS Works, and RxOne to the suite of pharmacy software that can interact with My Health Record is another milestone in the rollout of better, safer care.

"A substantial number of community pharmacists can now access a growing number and range of clinical documents, and they can apply their deep pharmaceutical knowledge to maximise benefits and minimise medication-related harm to patients,” Dr. Hambleton said.

Partnership with peak national body representing 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). The partnership will help increase the number of pharmacists using My Health Record.

The PSA represents 30,000 pharmacists working in all areas of pharmacy across the country and is ideally placed to develop and deliver education, training, information, and communications for the pharmacy profession.

This partnership is expected to help PSA to increase the number of pharmacists working in all practice settings registered, able to view, and automatically upload medicines information to My Health Record.

PSA will also review, update, and develop professional guidelines for pharmacy practice, and implementation tools for digital health.

PSA National President Dr. Shane Jackson said, “My Health Record will provide access to verifiable clinical information such as a shared health summary, which is really useful when you’re sitting down with a patient for a MedsCheck or Home Medication Review. The benefit to patients is safer and more effective care.

“Pharmacists will be able to understand what’s happened to the patient in hospital, what changes may have been made, and what they need to do to follow up. My Health Record really shines a light on a patient’s health status so you can tailor their care,” he added.

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. The Agency is also working with clinical information systems (CIS) vendors to develop nationally-scalable, secure electronic messaging between healthcare providers.

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said that 5.2 million Australians already have a My Health Record and 12.8 million prescription and dispense records have been uploaded to the system. 

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