eHealth records coming to emergency departments in NSW, Queensland

Pilot involving use of My Health Record in hospitals.

By Rohan Pearce
Aug. 7, 2017



Credit: Graphicstock 

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is preparing to launch a pilot involving the use of the federal eHealth record system - My Health Record - in hospital emergency departments.

"The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care will work with hospitals within Nepean Blue Mountains and North Queensland Primary Health Networks to develop a pilot model over the course of the project," an ADHA spokesperson told Computerworld.

This model will then be piloted in other hospitals in Australia, the spokesperson added.

"Where My Health Record is being utilised, we are seeing reductions in duplicated testing and lower hospital re-admission rates," ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said.

"However, we need to identify potential barriers to the uptake of My Health Record in hospitals, and enable better integration with primary and secondary healthcare providers."

"It is time-consuming for hospital staff to gain information on the patient's medicines, what their GP has been doing to manage the condition, and the procedures provided by other hospitals," said the CEO of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Adjunct Professor Debora Picone.

"This time could be better used treating the patient," Picone added.

The pilot, which is expected to last two years, builds on the 'opt out' My Health Record trials conducted in NSW and Queensland.

A report on the trials commissioned by the Department of Health found that the initial opt-in approach for My Health Record was "unsustainable". The report argued that an "opt-out approach to increase both individual and healthcare provider participation and use is the preferred option".

More than 970,000 electronic health records were created as part of the opt-out trials, with an opt-out rate of just 1.9 per cent.

This year's federal budget set aside $374.2 million over two years, beginning in 2017-18, for the expansion of the digital health record system as it shifts to an opt-out participation model.

The eHealth record system may be re-platformed to use cloud infrastructure and open source software.

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