The path ahead – outlook for 2017-18

With a clearly articulated purpose and strategy, focus is now firmly on delivery of the seven strategic priorities outlined in the National Digital Health Strategy. A more detailed view of the year ahead is presented in the Agency’s Corporate Plan 2017-18.7

Although there is much to be achieved in this coming year, a significant focus will be the expansion of the My Health Record system.

My Health Record expansion

The transition to 'opt-out' is the fastest way to realise the significant health and economic benefits of My Health Record for all Australians including through avoided hospital admissions, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people seeing multiple healthcare providers, and better informed treatment decisions. The Agency has established a measurement program to track and evaluate the realisation of these benefits.

National ‘opt-out’ model announced
In May 2017, the Australian Government announced its commitment for continued and improved operation of the My Health Record system, including a transition to an ‘opt out’ model in 2018. This followed unanimous support at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for a national rollout, with a My Health Record to be created for every Australian by the end of 2018, unless they tell us they don’t want one.

Opt-out participation is supported by an independent evaluation of two opt-out trials which showed a high level of support from both healthcare providers and individuals. The opt-out rate was just 1.9% across the two trial areas.8

The Agency has established robust governance arrangements for the expansion program including an implementation working group, with representation from the Executive General Managers for each work stream. The working group meets weekly and reports to the My Health Record Expansion Program Board, which in turn reports into the Agency Board.

Additionally, the My Health Record Expansion Program Steering Group provides advice and guidance to the Program Board. This group is chaired by Jim Birch AM, with Dr Steve Hambleton as the Deputy Chair, and consists of over 30 stakeholder groups including national clinical peaks, academia and consumer groups.

“Prioritise making the My Health Record shareable and used by all health professionals and in all health settings. This fundamental step will have massive benefits to consumers who will be able to trust that their information is being adequately communicated.”
- Consumers Health Forum of Australia

7 Australian Digital Health Agency Corporate Plan 2017-18

8 Evaluation of the My Health Record Participation Trials