On the road, in the air – talking about My Health Record in Western Australia

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey’s reflections on his recent stakeholder meetings in Western Australia.

I was in Western Australia earlier this month, both in Perth and on the road with the brilliant team at the WA Primary Healthcare Alliance (WAPHA) who are leading the My Health Record Expansion program in the state. All over the country, PHNs are starting to mobilise – supporting frontline clinical staff with awareness of the benefits of the service and of the forthcoming opt out.

We started with an event in Guildford, Perth. Ninety seniors were gathered in a community centre to hear Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care, and Dr Steve Hambleton describe the benefits of My Health Record – especially for people who travel in their retirement, as many of those assembled do.

A great session with the allied health, nursing and pharmacy professionals of WAPHA– the WA Primary Healthcare Association

Ken Wyatt called on Australians, especially senior Australians, to embrace the rollout of My Health Record. The audience were certainly receptive.

During the discussion that followed, one participant said firmly: ‘All doctors should have to do this!’

ABC Geraldton Radio interview with Dr Steve Hambleton, who spoke about a My Health Record for every Australian in 2018.

During another session, Steve described how a 93 year old patient had travelled on holiday after surgery in the local hospital. When she arrived at her destination, she fainted. She went to see a local GP who was able to access her My Health Record and deduce that a medication she had been prescribed in hospital was responsible and she stopped taking it. All was well.

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey, meeting GPs and practice managers to listen to their health and care stories

The following day Steve, Mark Kinsela and I flew to Geraldton, a mining town 600 kilometres north of Perth to attend a series of open forums with local clinicians and patients. One elderly Aboriginal woman told me about her brother – he has a number of chronic conditions, including epilepsy. Recently his GP went on holiday in the south of the state and he had to see another GP while he was away. This GP didn’t give him the medication he needed, and three days later he was in hospital after having a seizure.

This regrettable turn of events could potentially have been avoided if her brother’s medication history was available on My Health Record. So she told me she was going to recommend that her brother register for it so that all his doctors will know his medication history.

En route to Geraldton – an opportunity to reflect on the stories shared and lessons learnt