The rural community of Berrigan in NSW has become the first
town in Australia where all key healthcare providers are connected and using My
Currently, over 5.5 million Australians have a My Health
Record. The Commonwealth Government is investing
A$374.2 million over the next two years for the nationwide rollout of an
opt-out model of My Health Record. The objective is to ensure that every
Australian will have a My Health Record created for them by December 2018,
unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt out period.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the
Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) identified Berrigan, a town in the
Riverina region of New South Wales with a population of around 950 people, as
the first town in Australia where the local general practice, pharmacy, aged
care centres, and the local hospital are all connected to the system.
Additionally, over 50% of the town’s population, and every resident in the aged
care facility has an active My Health Record.
Shared Health Summaries, Prescription and Dispense uploads
are above average in Berrigan and the Practice Nurses in General Practice have
a particular interest in Advance Care plans and in assisting in uploading them
to a patient’s My Health Record.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Member for Farrer, representing
Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Minister for Rural Health,
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said people in rural and remote areas of
Australia need to be able to have their important health information when they
“My Health Record allows Australians and their health
professionals to securely access their health information to improve their
care, whether at home or in a metropolitan hospital. I’m so proud that the
community of Berrigan have shown Australia how it’s done, by embracing digital
health to bring world class health care to the bush,” Ms Ley said.
MPHN Acting CEO Melissa Neal lauded the community spirit and
connectedness in small rural communities.
“This achievement for Berrigan demonstrates the town’s
community strength, the foresight of the local health professionals and the
town’s willingness to uptake digital health technology,” Ms Neal said.
Berrigan local Damien Taylor can already see the benefits of
My Health Record for his young daughter Maggie, who, at seven months old,
underwent open-heart surgery for a congenital heart defect.
“While my wife and I were going through this traumatic time
with Maggie, her important health information like medicines, conditions and
hospital stay information were being captured in her My Health Record. We are
so pleased it has. The long term benefits of having this record mean we won’t
need to keep hard copy records and try and remember everything at each medical
appointment in the future,” Mr Taylor said.
Joining the community celebration along with the state
Member for Murray, Mr Austin Evans, ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said, “This is digital
health innovation at its very best and it demonstrates that it doesn’t matter
where in Australia you live, as a consumer and a provider, you should have your
health records in the palm of your hand.”
“The Australian Medical Association has said that the My
Health Record is the future of modern medicine in Australia. The fact that a
small rural town is the first to be fully connected instantly demonstrates the
fundamental human value that digital health provides in terms of improving
health care access and equity to all Australians no matter where they live.”
He added that access to services is often difficult in rural
communities and digital health innovation can make a huge difference to the
care of all, particularly those with complex and chronic needs.