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Pilot of GP access to ACT Health’s new Digital Health Record

21 November 2022
By Kate McDonald
Image: iStock

ACT Health will run a small pilot of a portal into its new Digital Health Record (DHR) that will allow general practices to access their patients’ medical records from Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce with the patient’s consent.

ACT Health says the Epic DHR went live on November 12 with only a few teething issues, including some users of the MyDHR mobile app being sent messages about appointments and test results.

“Due to historical data coming into the new system, approximately 75,000 of MyDHR patients received an unpromoted notification early Monday 14 November 2022,” an ACT Health spokesperson said.

“ACT Health had anticipated some transitional issues during the implementation of the Digital Health Record, and we have worked quickly to address them. Relevant updates to the system have since been tested and applied to resolve this issue.”

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Digital Health Record is one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in the ACT public health system and the implementation has been going well.

“Considering the scale of the DHR project, teams have done an incredible job in implementing the new system,” Ms Stephen-Smith said. “As expected with any project of this size, there have been some teething issues. Staff have been fantastic in coming forward with feedback and working together to find solutions to issues as they arise.

“In the first week more than 8,000 workers have logged on to use DHR. While this is a very exciting time, I know some staff members are understandably feeling anxious as they learn a new system. Healthcare workers have shown great professionalism in adapting to the DHR while continuing to provide care for patients.

“While staff are using DHR for the first time, our hospitals and Walk-in Centres have experienced an increase in wait times and there has been an impact on services in some areas. This is expected to improve as staff become familiar with the system and issues are worked through.”

ACT Health CIO Peter O’Halloran, who led the mammoth project, wrote on LinkedIn that the project was delivered through an “amazing collaboration” across the ACT public health system in conjunction with healthcare consumers and vendor partners including Epic, NTT and the ACT’s Digital, Data and Technology Solutions (DDTS) Group.

“This implementation is the most complex and far-reaching implementation of Epic’s system in the Asia-Pacific region, including 11 modules that are being implemented in Australia for the first time (including patient administration, pathology and radiology),” he said.

“This, combined with the exceptional clinicians in the ACT public health system will enable the ACT to quickly become the most digitally enabled healthcare system in Australia.”

ACT Health will now conduct a small pilot to trial the ‘DHR Link’, portal, which will allow general practices to access their patients’ medical records from Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.

According to ACT Health, the participating GP practices will have access to review the status of referrals and will be able to update the patient’s medical record in real time. They will also be able to access imaging and pathology undertaken at these sites.

Patients must provide written consent, either through a consent form or through their MyDHR account.

Ms Stephen-Smith said following the first week of the implementation, ACT Health will continue with a public information campaign to inform Canberrans about the benefits of the DHR, the security measures in place and how to access MyDHR.

“There are huge benefits to having one record across the ACT public health system,” she said. “From now on, when you go to an emergency department, Walk-in Centre or outpatient appointment your doctor, nurse or allied health professional will be able to access instantly any relevant information from your previous interactions with the ACT public health system.

“I want to thank everyone involved for their enthusiasm, collegiality and resilience in the lead-up to and through go-live.”

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2 comments on “Pilot of GP access to ACT Health’s new Digital Health Record”

  1. As a participating pilot practice we’re looking forward to the potential for better information access and transfer and are enthusiastic about the access opportunity.

  2. Will the SDPR correct the pathology cumulative summary of result display? Currently clinicians are required to read these results in a “right to left” date format. Which is contrary to conventional “left to right” reading of all other data.

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