Andrew Daniels shares his thoughts on how My Health Record can help pharmacies build digital health capabilities, as published in Post Script Australia on Monday 6 November 2017.
Pharmacies should understand why My Health Record is important and how their customers can participate, writes Andrew Daniels.
Already 5,160,000 Australians have a My Health Record and by the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they decide not to have one.
As more people get a My Health Record pharmacy staff are likely to be queried about it. So what is My Health Record?
Simply put, having a My Health Record means your important health information such as allergies, current conditions and treatments, medicine details, pathology reports or diagnostic imaging scan reports can be digitally stored in one place and allows access a summary of the their health record when they need to.
When it comes to including medicines on a My Health Record, customers can even add a note to their My Health record of any over-the-counter, Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 medicines they are using regularly. Pharmacy assistants can play an important role by encouraging customers to make a note on their My Health record.
When a pharmacy connects to My Health Record it allows pharmacists to contribute to, and access, health information for the communities they serve. For example, they can access discharge summaries and information about allergies that will help pharmacists provide relevant advice targeted to each individual, and ensure the safety of the patient.
To date, almost 1,400 community pharmacies have registered with the Agency for My Health Record along with 6,200 GP practices and 785 public hospitals.
According to Queensland pharmacist and specialist advisor to the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) Debbie Rigby, the bigger picture benefit of My Health Record for community pharmacies is that they become linked to, and part of, the primary health team – both in perception and reality.
In August the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council approved Australia’s National Digital Health strategy (2018–22).
The strategy – Safe, seamless, and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia – identified seven key priorities for digital health in Australia including delivery of a My Health Record for every Australian by 2018 – unless they choose not to have one.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says it is committed to helping community pharmacies build their digital health capabilities. According to Guild President George Tambassis, this means advancing the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“We are working with the Agency to ensure community pharmacy dispensing and medicine-related services are fully integrated into the My Health Record – and are committed to supporting implementation of the National Digital Health strategy as a whole,” Mr Tambassis said.
The Agency recently entered into agreements with Dispense Works, Minfos, Mountaintop Dispense, RxOne, ScriptPro Dispense, and Z Dispense to connect up to the My Health Record system. This will make it easier for pharmacists to securely access patient care information.
These are in addition to Fred Dispense and Aquarius Dispense, which already connect to the My Health Record system. Discussions are underway with other dispense software organisations.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Shane Jackson said connecting the pharmacy dispensing software to My Health Record allows medication dispense records to be added to the patient’s My Health Record at the time of dispensing.
“Pharmacists will also spend less time chasing up clinical information and will have access to My Health Record as part of their regular workflow and dispensing process,” Mr Jackson said.
Ms Rigby said My Health Record will provide pharmacists with access to more information than they currently have. For example, diagnoses, allergies and adverse reactions, and discharge summaries.
“Patients think we already know this information,” Ms Rigby said.
“Sharing the information we collect on a patient, such as prescription and dispensing records, will be valuable to other healthcare providers especially GPs and hospitals.
Ms Rigby said the patient information pharmacists can access, such as diagnoses, are beneficial for many reasons.
“The example I use is duloxetine which is used for depression, neuropathic pain or urinary incontinence. Knowing the reason for prescribing, helps start the conversation (and counselling) in the right direction.”
“Further, a discharge summary helps with medication reconciliation for Dose Administration Aids as well as seeing the reason for any medication changes and for hospital admission—there is lots of potential for time-saving and avoiding errors here.”
Mr Jackson said: “I truly believe that having a My Health Record is important for all Australians, but is more important for those who have chronic and complex medical conditions. Those patients often take multiple medicines, see lots of different healthcare providers and need assistance in managing their medications and conditions.”
“There is no doubt that access to the My Health Record system has allowed me to provide better clinical care with dose administration aids, clinical interventions, and Home Medicines Reviews. In the future with more shared health summaries available, Medschecks and Diabetes Medscheck services will be more targeted and result in good clinical outcomes.
More than 1.2 million discharge summaries have been uploaded to My Health Records.
Watch Dr Shane Jackson speak about My Health Record below.
More information and registration for My Health record is available at: http://myhealthrecord.gov.au