My Health Record – get on board

Townsville-based GP Dr Ron Malpas has been practising for 30 years.

He is Tiger Corrigan’s GP. Tiger, who is 72 years old and suffers from multiple chronic conditions was featured in the recent My Health Record Men’s Health Kit GP. Here Dr Malpas shares his experiences with My Health Record.

In our practice we use My Health Record widely. We are always trying to upload more, and as many patients’ information as we can. We have an active program to ensure practitioners are aware and conscious of that. Coming up in our in-house education series is a series on My Health Record and how to workload records, how to read records, and how and when to access records, so that all the doctors are aware and are able to use the My Health Record.

I would encourage all health professionals to get on board with My Health Record – from specialist primary care practitioners to pharmacists, because unless we’re all using My Health Record, it’s not going to work for everybody. I think My Health Record is something that we will all, in the future, realise the value of.

I think My Health Record is easy to use because on Best Practice, the software program we use, with just the click of a button we have access to pharmaceutical information, discharge summaries or shared health summaries uploaded from other practices. It only takes a few seconds.

This is particularly useful in Townsville which has Australia’s largest army base. Personnel and their families are often being deployed or on the move. We have a lot of service men and women who are deployed overseas or out of town or get reposted somewhere else and new people come in. Having My Health Record is an important way for their health records to be coordinated for them rather than having to get information by post or whatever.

I’ve always been a fan of information technology as a way of communicating from person to person. I could see that was the way that the world is going. Given Tiger’s health problems, getting accurate information quickly is always going to be an issue so I thought – “well, this is an excellent way for all of the people who might be involved in his care to be able to be fully informed of what’s happening at any given moment.”

My Health Record is a little bit limited in the information I can access at the moment so with Tiger, I’m generally just looking at hospital discharge information to see what he’s being treated for, what specialty’s been looking after him and if there’s any change in medications, also his latest pathology results. Tiger sees a lot of different specialists – cardiologists, urologists, endocrinologists – so there’s a lot of complex issues to be managed. Often those specialists don’t communicate with each other so General Practice is the place where all of that is brought together to allow his whole care to be looked after.

As time goes by and more information sources are added to My Health Record it will become more and more useful.