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Blog: Focus returns to My Health Record with secure funding commitments

26 May 2023
| 1 comment
By Kate McDonald
Image: iStock

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.

One comment on “Blog: Focus returns to My Health Record with secure funding commitments”

  1. Do you support the push to upload health information to My Health Record by default? In a big response to our poll, 77 per cent of readers said yes.

    We also asked: If yes, what benefits do you think it will bring? If not, what is the main problem you see? Here’s what you said:

    – It’s my information why shouldn’t I have it?

    – I can control all of my information in every other part of my life why is health different? Health seems years behind compared to others when it comes to consumers being able to access and control their information

    – Clinicians will have access to all data no matter what the source.

    – Not safe or secure. Many do not have my health record.

    – I think, as long as we are sure that the cyber security maintenance is always up to date, the benefits to having the information accessible far outweigh the negatives. Trying to access my own data remains challenging… if it’s in MHR it’s available to me and anyone that needs it for my care.

    – These systems will NEVER be sufficiently secure – and future governments and others could abuse the system for decades to come.

    – Centralised health record to provide better health care across care settings, but requires atomic data to be successful

    – Finally we will see tests and discharge summaries that we currently have to search for, or worse, ignore and repeat

    – How else can i get access to my health information?

    – Immediate access to your health information where and when ever as you travel the world may just save your life. My Health Record rocks!!

    – Absolutely essential for better healthcare.

    – More scope creep, mainly because nobody is using it. Just storing data without context is pretty useless. What happened to the idea that My Health Record is a summary system with key data only.

    – MyHR will gain greater usage by clinicians if Pathology and Radiology data is uploaded by default = improved patient outcomes.

    – Encounters and updates and events don’t get to the mhr if the doctor has to do something else. They are busy enough as it is.

    – Patient ownership of their own information and healthcare

    – Visibility of health information across public and private providers.

    – Consistency, clarity, real time access and collaboration

    – Access to vital information

    – Privacy & Security

    – Everyone is on the same pages in a patients care and history and the only thing would be hackers as usual.

    – MHR will achieve clinical utility when most eligible reports are loaded.

    – At least consumers could access them and influence improvements in the records and share them with their doctors

    – Main problem is it can be misused by government bodies

    – Breach of privacy, taking away democratic choice of individuals,

    – The government security implementation is a bit iffy

    – Richer information for a patient’s continuity of care, reduction in duplication of diagnostic test due to no access. Improvement in quality and safety.

    – It will mean as a GP I can hopefully get more info about what other health professionals especially hospitals and specialists do for my patients esp getting access to pathology and radiology results

    – Better health management in a timely fashion

    – It has such a great potential for connectivity between care team and patients, if health professionals could just be bothered using it 🙁 Patients want it BUT Sadly most just can’t be bothered!

    – More current, relevant information for more health professionals to collaborate and improve patient care and outcomes.

    – fill gaps in test result history

    – It’s not much use if most of the intended information is missing!

    – Quicker and effective treatment

    – Security. Clearly multiple health agencies within Australia currently cannot currently be trusted to provide secure storage and handling of personal information.

    – Better health care for low health literate patients
    should be democratically controlled, particularly with patient consent.

    – Visibility of people’s health infromation across sites providing care

    – quick clinician access

    – Better continuity of care, better-informed diagnosis and treatment of complex conditions, less waste.

    – A federal tool for medical records to allow cross boarder movement is essential

    – Access of information between primary and acute care settings enabling better care to be facilitated by health professionals.

    – A comprehensive and complete health record without relying on humans to initiate or remember to upload info. Now….. get SECURE MESSAGING free for all health professionals so that they can communicate in a timely, efficient and effective manner, saving more lives and immensely improving health outcomes. And yes, this will save gazillions of money too by streamlining consultation time, avoiding duplications, reducing mistakes due to incomplete information being available AND reducing stress on health professionals.

    – For patients with multiple specialists having all their results and letters in the one place makes it easier to avoid drug/drug and drug/ disease interactions

    – We’ve invested too much not to leverage off learnings and investment to date, once we have true shared care capability in MHR it will truly be valuable for integrated patient care

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