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Doctors in Australia and My Health Record

September 17, 2019 0 Comments

According to this year’s reports from  My Health Record – 90% of general practices and 83% of pharmacies have signed up to My Health Record and around 90% of Australians now have a My Health Record. 

What are the figures from this year telling us? Below we discuss facts about the enrolment and possible benefits for using My Health Record.

Doctors in Australia and My Health Record

Current My Health Record enrolment

Faster access to information

Improving medication safety

Assist in unpredictable cases


Current My Health Record enrolment

The system was built by the Australia Digital Health Agency. The ADHA estimates around 20 million clinical documents are now online. Some of those include 3.3 million discharge summaries, 10 million pathology reports and 2.1 diagnostic imaging report.

Looking at the figures, General Practice is leading the way with My Health Record. Over 7000+ practices are enrolled, compared to 4700+ pharmacies, 2700+ additional healthcare providers such as Allied Health, 900+ Public and Private hospitals, 200+ Aged Care Residential services and around 100 Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging providers. 

Doctor giving medical advice for patients

General Practices connected to My Health Record grew from 82% in April 2018 to 92% in April 2019. During that time they experienced:

  • 13% increase of shared health summaries uploaded by GPs
  • 52% increase of prescription records uploaded by GPs
  • 60% increase in the views of clinical documents by GPs

Due to the nature of the consultations and referrals to Allied Health, Pharmacy and Hospital Specialist services, it is estimated General Practitioners are using as well as uploading records more often. 

Faster access to information 

General Practice has been on the forefront of healthcare initiatives and computerisation. GPs may have various benefits to using new systems because such systems have the potential to increase the quality and access to records and the safety for the patients overall. 

Medical team doctors and nurses using a laptop in a bright office

With My Health Record, a GP can access information such as pathology results, prescriptions and hospital discharge letters, all which can help in making informed decisions about their patients. 

SA Health and Adelaide GP Dr Daniel Byrne are one of the many who welcome My Health Record. My Health Record could be a ‘game changer’,  as it gives correct up-to-date information on a patient’s record. When all the records connect and contribute to reports in bulk, the reports then can be sent directly to the requesting doctors but still be kept in the system as a record of the patient’s history for any future doctors. 

Dr Byrne gave examples including a patient returning from an emergency, having all the tests and necessary records perfectly detailed in their record for him to access and follow up on. He has also used the system to look up MRI results and helped patients with complex diseases to map out the suitable next steps in their care.

Improving medication safety

My Health Record could help to prevent medication errors that lead to harmful and Adverse Drug Events by increasing the accessibility to patient information.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) highlighted that more than 250,000 Australians are hospitalised each year because of medication errors, inappropriate use, or misadventures – noted in the PSA’s recent Medicine Safety: Take Care report.

The more healthcare providers and organisations consistently upload to My Health Record, the better the visibility of the patients’ profile could help pharmacists, allied health, specialists and medical imaging providers to make safer decisions when providing care for their patients.

Assist in unpredictable cases

Unpredictability is one of the biggest challenges for both patients and their doctors. Sometimes, small changes in a patient’s body can be the difference between an ordinary day or a trip to the emergency if not managed properly. 

One such case happened in Sydney, with My Health Record being credited in helping a GP to save one of her patients from an unnecessary hospitalisation because something unpredictable happened. 

Patients express worry about their health condition to doctor

The GP sent the patient for testing before a knee-replacement surgery. The ECG result was added into a Shared Health Summary and uploaded to the patient’s My Health Record.

Later that evening, the patient suddenly felt chest pains while at home. An ambulance took them to a hospital, where another doctor checked the patient’s My Health Record and saw the previous ECG results. After double checking everything in this patient’s record, the patient was then sent home.

Rather than a new doctor going through all kinds of costly and time-consuming tests for a patient who seems they are experienced chest pains, this new doctor can use My Health Record to see everything that has previously been done and discussed with this patient. This patient was able to be discharged, rather than unnecessarily spend nights at the hospital for a new doctor to investigate their issues. 

What are you thoughts about using My Health Record? We would love to  hear from you.

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