Digital reforms aim to transform health system

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Digital health technologies already exist in Australia and it’s time to use them to our advantage, according to a report produced by The George Institute for Global Health and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia.

The policy round-table that resulted in the report was convened to create a strategy to make the best use of digital health tools – such as My Health Record and e-prescriptions – to ensure health information was available to all health practitioners when it was needed and that the information was secure.

Patients are often frustrated by having to tell the same story over and over again to each new medical professional, even when doctors are meant to be talking to one another. A nationwide digital health system would help to ensure that each doctor has the most complete, up-to-date information when treating a patient. It would also allow patients to specify their wishes in case of emergency, and provide directives for end-of-life care.

To test the recommendations made in the report, a series of ‘test-beds’ has been proposed. This a system, often used in the health sector, that allows real-world tests of proposed initiatives. It is expected that six test-bed projects will be under way nationally by 2022, in the areas of telehealth, child health, chronic care, residential aged care, emergency care and end-of-life care.

The policy round-table has recommended that the following areas be the focus of testing.

Chronic care
This project would aim to trial virtual care teams to support patients with high needs. It would also trial a platform called ‘Patients like me’, that would enable patients with chronic and complex needs to safely connect and share their experiences with one another.

Residential aged care
This project would aim to make residents’ health and social services information available in a single location, accessible by both patients and providers anywhere, any time and on any device. It would also aim to publish data that would allow patients, carers and future residents to compare residential care facilities based on health outcomes and patient experiences.

Emergency care
This project would make the ‘My Health Record’ data available rapidly for paramedics and other emergency providers. It would also facilitate better communication between emergency care and other medical teams to ensure better outcomes when patients are in recovery.

End-of-life care
This project would develop informational portals, to give patients and carers information about end of life care options and pathways. It would also create a social media campaign to encourage patients and medical professionals to normalise conversations about death.

What do you think? Does a digital healthcare system seem like the next logical step? Or do the possible security issues make you nervous?

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Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    My Health Care aims to take away your right to privacy. All your medical data will be stored on a central government database.
    You can opt out of this scheme when it goes live. However the default is opt out not in.

    The government does not need to know your details and it virtually nullifies a second opinion from a doctor who just looks up someone else’s assumptions and then proceeds from there.

    We are not in Nazi Germany and we should have the right to see a doctor or pharmacist without our information being recorded.

    • 0

      No the information is to be used by your medical health care team meaning they can look up the information rather than you having to tell your story over and over again. I know of several lives that have been saved because the doctor was able to look up the erecords. None of your information is unknown by the government anyway, privacy is an absolute fallacy.

    • 0

      My Health is already active and has been for a couple of years. Originally the Government asked doctors to sign up their practices. Few did, so the Government added financial incentives for doctors who signed up. Few did. Why? They were concerned about the privacy of the information and who would have access to it.

      Finally, to force the use of the system, the Government moved the goal post to the patient who now must proactively opt out of the recording of their health information. In addition, you will need to go to your record and change the default privacy settings if you do not want your information shared with anyone outside health agencies, and this information will not always be de-identified.

      You need to know that it is not only health agencies who will access to this information: “Any Australian-based entity – other than insurance companies – can apply to access the data.”

  2. 0

    You seem a bit confused Rosret. You say “However the default is opt out not in.” which means if you do nothing your data is not stored and therefor you will have the right to see a doctor or pharmacist without information being recorded.

  3. 0

    I have been saying for years that there should be a national database with patients’ records medical practitioners should be able to access. It makes it so much easier for both doctor and patient when you see each other for the first time, either due to having moved or because you’re travelling and for one reason or another cannot see your usual doctor.

    Privacy will be taken care of. You will be able to see who has accessed your medical records. Doctors are not allowed to look up someone’s records without good reason. For those people who value their privacy over their health, there should be the option of non-participation in My Health Care.

    Opposition against this scheme is a bit like the opposition against the Australia Card. Every time I have to travel into town to prove my identity in front of a JP, I curse the people who opposed the Australia Card. It would have made life so much easier to have one card instead of having to produce all these other cards and documents.

    Also, if you’re so concerned about your privacy, what are you doing on the Internet?

  4. 0

    The Government comes up with these ideas but they seem to fail me. My wife and I lived in Queensland for most of the past 30 years and when we returned to live in Adelaide we went through the process of having all of our medical histories recorded on the National Health Register, (I think that was the title of the scheme), so that all would be available to our new health care providers in SA. Not so, we were required to pay to have records forwarded, so how is this new scheme supposed to operate ?????



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