Dr John Aloizos AM shares his views on how digital health benefits him as a GP, plus how important it is to ensure clinical information systems (CIS) are updated to get the most out of My Health Record.
As a GP, I often find myself in conversation with colleagues who are in general practice about My Health Record and initiatives that the Australian Digital Health Agency is leading to connect other parts of the sector in the lead up to national opt-out.
One of the frequent comments I hear is:
I’ve tried using the My Health Record in my CIS but it’s too cumbersome to locate useful information. We were told usability improvements had been made – but I’m not seeing them! When will the My Health Record be fixed? When will the usability issues be fixed?’
In response, my question is: ‘When did you last upgrade your practice CIS?’
It’s true that a few years ago it was much harder to find useful information and uploading documents to the system involved a lot of extra steps. However, the Clinical Usability Program and the work of the Australian Digital Health Agency in partnership with the Colleges and software industry has resulted in a far better product – and it improves with every release.
Best of all, the upgrades are easy – just download and install a free update file from the vendor's website.
Many GPs don’t realise that software vendors have done a lot of work to make it easier to find documents and access medicines information, as well as pathology and diagnostic imaging results through the new Views recently added to My Health Record. Searching for documents is easier, there’s improved sorting and filtering options and the authoring of health summaries and event summaries has been simplified.
We routinely use My Health Record at my practice, and make a point of keeping up-to-date with the latest version of the CIS - this gives us access to the latest features and usability enhancements. Data migration is also made easier because we install every major release.
Of course, if your CIS is a really old version, it might not be as straightforward, and some data migration may be needed. I’ve found it’s much easier to keep up-to-date with each software update – otherwise it becomes a bigger issue when you do need to upgrade from an old system.
So if you haven’t seen much improvement in the My Health Record, check whether you have the latest version of your CIS installed and upgrade.
Dr John Aloizos AM is a Clinical Reference Lead with the Australian Digital Health Agency. He runs a GP practice in Upper Mt Gravatt, Brisbane. You can follow him on Twitter @Dr_John_Aloizos