My Health Record and the Australian Digital Health Agency came out on top in the recent federal budget, scoring the lion’s share of the $950 million in funding announced to great fanfare but little real detail. The funding is great news for ADHA, which has been guaranteed ongoing funding over the foreseeable future, and for the My Health Record, which in addition to its regular operational funding of over $100m a year also received an extra few hundred million or so to continue its modernisation project.
Some of the finer detail has since begun to emerge this week, including $13m to begin the process of mandating that key information is uploaded by default to MyHR, starting with pathology and radiology reports. Now that most of the big guys in the diagnostics field are conformant, and considering that the pathology provides in particular are already uploading reports unless told otherwise, this should be pretty straightforward. The bigger deal for them is getting electronic orders and requests standardised and happening routinely.
The state governments have all mandated that hospital discharge summaries are uploaded by default, and prescription and dispense records will be further streamlined with the move to the new national prescription delivery service, which received a very tidy sum of money in the budget. The major problem with My Health Record is getting shared health summaries and event summaries written and uploaded, but that challenge may prove moot as the modernisation program progresses.
ADHA CEO Amanda Cattermole told an industry webinar this week that the plan was to move away from what is essentially a clinical document system to what she called a data-rich, standards-based platform. There is significant funding in the budget – $126.8 million over four years – to get the ball rolling on developing standards-based health information exchanges, which will be developed with the assistance and co-funding of the states and territories under the long-standing intergovernmental agreement. The funding to develop and adopt national FHIR standards over the next two years, led by the CSIRO, is particularly welcome, although it is not yet clear how much this will involve.
There was also some more information on the MyMedicare voluntary patient enrolment scheme this week, with Department of Health and Aged Care digital health chief Daniel McCabe revealing that this will involve integrating MyMedicare into practice management software. The department is planning a co-design process with software developers to define a delivery plan, which will need to be up and running if DoHAC wants to meet its October 1 launch date for patients.
Work to get allied health software conformant and practitioners registered and using the system is also a priority, following the previous work on getting specialists involved. Aged care is then to follow. This sector has long been a significant challenge for health information sharing, but work is proceeding apace. ADHA has been funded up to June 2024 for its work on the aged care transfer summary, and there is also some support in the budget to get in-home aged care providers using the system. It is also likely that aged care assessments will make their way onto the system, and significant work on interoperability between My Health Record and My Aged Care is planned. We’ll have more on this next week.
In the meantime, the Aged Care Industry IT Council released guidelines to the My Health Record system for residential aged care facilities this week. This document is refreshingly free of jargon and when it does use it, it explains what it means in plain English. The ACIITC team of George Margelis, Anne Livingstone, Georgie Gould and Frank Pearce, along with their colleagues at ADHA, really should be congratulated on producing an incredibly useful document for those new to My Health Record or in need of a refresher after 11 years of promises about the system.
Now, for meaningful use. We hear that ADHA has developed a meaningful use framework that will be discussed at the MedInfo conference in Sydney in July. Hopefully we’ll have more information on that shortly.
That brings us to our poll question for the week:
Do you support the push to upload health information to My Health Record by default?
If yes, what benefits do you think it will bring? If not, what is the main problem you see?
Vote here and leave your comments below.
Last week we asked: Will GPs see value in virtual or asynchronous consults with specialists? Most think they will: 79 per cent to 21 per cent.
We also asked, if you answered yes, what is the main advantage? If no, what are the barriers to adoption? Here’s what you said.