The challenges of 2020 with bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the need for accessible patient medical information at any time, and the Annual Report from the Australian Digital Health Agency shows that GPs and hospitals are increasingly sharing patient medical information by uploading and viewing documents in My Health Record.
Whether it was due to natural disaster or the COVID-19 lockdowns and closed state borders, many patients couldn’t see their healthcare provider face-to-face.
This is when My Health Record really shines and healthcare providers can access their patients’ important medical information such as test results, medications and hospital discharge summaries anywhere, anytime.
Independent Clinical Advisor to the Australian Digital Health Agency, Dr Steve Hambleton, said more and more healthcare workers were realising the practical benefits of digital health.
“I want hospitals and specialists to have rapid access to relevant information about my patients when they are caring for them, and as a GP, when a patient comes back to see me having been discharged from hospital or with a report from a specialist, I value what those hospitals and specialists share and upload to My Health Record for the ongoing care I provide,” he said.
From July 2019 to June 2020:
- the number of documents uploaded by GPs and viewed by others has risen to 187,000, a 165 per cent increase.
- GPs viewed 416,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 250 per cent increase.
- the number of documents uploaded by public hospitals and viewed by other healthcare providers has risen to 322,000, an increase of nearly 300 per cent.
- Public hospitals viewed 271,000 documents uploaded by others, an increase of more than 300 per cent.
Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said “Over the last 12 months it’s been great to see the increases in clinically helpful data in the system and the sharing and viewing by health professionals.
“My Health Record provides the repository for consumers’ health data and a great way for them to safely and securely engage with their healthcare providers.
“I encourage people to log into their My Health Record and ensure their information including allergies, medicines, immunisations, and any pathology reports has been uploaded.
“This will give you peace of mind, knowing that in an emergency situation, information like your medications and allergies are rapidly available to medical staff.
“It can make a significant difference to health outcomes and assist medical staff in diagnosis and treatment.”
Key statistics July 2019 to June 2020:
- Total number of My Health Records in Australia increased by 230,000, from 22.55 million to 22.78 million.
- Total number of records with data in them increased from 10.08 million to 19.41 million, a nearly 93 per cent increase.
- Number of health documents in the My Health Record system has risen from 1.3 billion to 2.09 billion over the financial year. Clinical documents, uploaded by hospitals, pathologists or radiologists, have risen from 23 million to 75 million.
- Medicine documents, uploaded by pharmacies and GPs, have risen from 56 million to 143 million.
- Immunisation documents in the system have gone from 4.8 million to 15 million.
- Organ donor registrations have gone from one million to 1.5 million.
- Pharmacies registered with My Health Record have risen from 88 per cent to 99 per cent. GPs registered have risen from 86 per cent to 93 per cent. Public hospitals have risen from 75 per cent to 95 percent.
- Pathology reports in My Health Record have gone from 13 million to 53 million.
- Diagnostic imaging reports have risen from 2.6 million to 8.2 million.
- Dispense records have risen from 27 million to 82 million.
Former Intensive Care Registrar at Armidale Health Service in Western Australia, Rowan Ellis, attests to the benefits of My Health Record: “We had a patient who presented as critically unwell and intensive care staff were asked to review the patient,” he said.
“It became apparent that they had been treated recently at a different hospital and we didn’t have access to their records, so we hopped onto My Health Record and found all the necessary discharge summary information details of their specialist who we then contacted directly to discuss their care. We then arranged transfer out to the hospital where they were already receiving ongoing treatment.”