NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecords : Australia’s peak GP, pharmacy, and healthcare bodies support My Health Record and the Government’s decision to move the system to an opt out model

“The My Health Record will allow a range of benefits – from a full medication summary, to a record of diagnostic reports, through to the ability for patients to enter their own notes.

Ultimately it’s a tool that will help patients better track their own health and medical history,” 

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Tony Bartone believes the opt out model is the fastest and most effective way to realise the benefits of My Health Record. See sector support Part 2

VIEW Rob and Sandra’s My Health Record Story VIDEO HERE 

 “At Galambila we aim to provide a culturally appropriate service to our local Aboriginal community. We have a range of clinics and services aiming to close the gap and keep our community healthy and living longer.

Galambila has six GPs and allied health services such as podiatry and been active in setting up My Health Records for patients and in uploading patient summaries.” 

My role is to provide linkages with community pharmacy, as well as actively enhancing our quality use of medication at a clinic level. I play an important role in the care of our clients as they transition through care settings by ensuring correct and appropriate medication usage.

It is an innovative role that adds value to the primary health care outcomes of our clients.”

Pharmacist, Chris Braithwaite Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour

See full ACCHO story Part 4 below

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) remote clinics to access My Health Record

Part 1 :From Monday 16 July all Australians will be able to decide if they want a My Health Record – an online summary of their key health information where they can safely store, access and share their important health information.

More than 5.9 million Australians already have a My Health Record and 12,860 healthcare professional organisations are connected, including general practices, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic imaging and pathology practices. The My Health Record is already making healthcare management for individuals and healthcare providers easier and safer, and could save lives in an emergency situation.

Australians can manage privacy and control access to their My Health Record including what information gets uploaded and who has access such as family members, carers and healthcare providers. This empowers them to share and control their health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers from anywhere, at any time.

By the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they choose not to have one. If people choose not to have a My Health Record, they will be able to opt out of having one created for them during a three-month period, starting on Monday 16 July and ending on October 15 2018.

Professor Meredith Makeham, family General Practitioner and Chief Medical Adviser to the Australian Digital Health Agency said, “My Health Record empowers Australians by giving them secure access to their own healthcare information and supports them in managing their health conditions.”

“People can choose which healthcare information they’d like to store in their My Health Record and who they’d like to share it with.”

“My Health Record aims to deliver better healthcare outcomes and safer care for people. It will reduce harm caused by medication errors because people and their healthcare providers will have access to important information about medicines and allergies. This could save your life in an emergency.”

“My Health Record will help people with chronic and complex health conditions have better coordinated care. It will enable all of their clinicians to see the same healthcare information. This should also reduce avoidable hospital admissions and the unnecessary duplication of pathology and imaging investigations.”

“My Health Record has the potential to have a significant and long-lasting positive impact on healthcare services for every Australian, and we encourage all Australians to find out about the benefits of the My Health Record,” said Mr Tim Kelsey, Chief Executive of the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“My Health Record is a key priority in the Government’s National Digital Health Strategy, and a great example of the collaboration underway as government, healthcare providers, industry bodies, and Australians all work together to deliver it.”

 

Part 2: Australia’s peak GP, pharmacy, and healthcare bodies support My Health Record and the Government’s decision to move the system to an opt out model

Consumers Health Forum (CHF) CEO, Ms Leanne Wells said the opt out period is an important time for Australians to learn more about My Health Record. “My Health Record gives Australians the opportunity to be active partners in their own care, with many potential benefits for those that decide to have one. The opt out period is a great opportunity for individuals to learn more about My Health Record so they can understand the impact it could have on their treatments. We are looking forward to seeing more records be created by the end of the year, so more Australians have access to the benefits the platform enables,” said Ms Wells.

Download full press release

My Health Record CHF opens new era

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth and Practice Services Dr Nathan Pinskier said My Health Record is one of the best examples of how technology can make a positive difference to society.

“Many Australians are already making use of digital services across a range of industries. My Health Record provides the opportunity for Australians to access their health information in a secure environment. The RACGP are working with GPs to obtain awareness on how to best use My Health Record to provide patients timely access to additional information and support better health outcomes,” said Dr Pinskier.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President, Dr Shane Jackson is also looking forward to seeing more Australians take ownership of their healthcare. “In collaboration with the Agency we are helping our 30,000 pharmacists guide patients through this important healthcare decision. The information in the My Health Record System will allow pharmacists to deliver more effective and efficient care, and it is great that all Australians will have the option to benefit from this,” said Dr Jackson.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, Mr George Tambassis said increased use of the system will result in sustainable healthcare delivery. “The Guild is committed to ensuring all pharmacy dispensing and medicine related services are fully integrated into My Health Record. By doing so we will help advance the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare,” said Mr Tambassis.

Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association (AHHA) CEO, Ms Alison Verhoeven applauded the Agency’s decision to expand the My Health Record platform while respecting a patient’s right to privacy. “Health care is a sensitive topic, and so it is only right Australians are given the right to decide how it is disclosed and who to. Patients are at the centre of My Health Record – realising the health benefits it enables and controlling those who have access to it. It’s a critical and exciting development in the progression of healthcare services in Australia,” said Ms Verhoeven.

Part 3

More information on My Health Record can be found at

www.myhealthrecord.gov.au.

People who do not want a My Health Record can opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance.

Additional support is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy, and those living in rural and remote regions.

Part 4

Pharmacist, Chris Braithwaite has worked in a variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health locations since graduating in 2012, including at Katherine in the Northern Territory, Mount Isa and Cape York in Queensland. He has been working at Galambila Aboriginal Health Service at Coffs Harbour in northern NSW – in Gumbaynggirr country – since October 2016 .

I was attracted by the opportunity take on the emerging role as a practice pharmacist working closely with GPs, Aboriginal Health Workers, nurses and other allied health professionals. Working with Aboriginal people is a unique and rewarding use of my skills.

My Health Record is particularly exciting for pharmacists as we have, for too long operated in an information poor silo and this will be a step in the right direction to close the loop and increase our capacity to deliver targeted care.

For patients, it will provide a platform for empowerment regarding their health and an accessible record for those Australian’s who find health literacy a challenge. This is really a priceless advance for the health system.

I have always been attracted by the concept behind My Health Record, but what’s really convincing are the case studies and examples I have heard where pharmacists and other health professionals have delivered more effective and efficient care. When these stories come to light, you can always recall a situation where having access to My Health Record would have made an enormous impact on the way you delivered care.

To me, this was especially relevant in Cape York, where the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is particularly transient. My Health Record will be invaluable in these situations.

Galambila

At Galambila we aim to provide a culturally appropriate service to our local Aboriginal community. We have a range of clinics and services aiming to close the gap and keep our community healthy and living longer.

Galambila has six GPs and allied health services such as podiatry and been active in setting up My Health Records for patients and in uploading patient summaries.

My role is to provide linkages with community pharmacy, as well as actively enhancing our quality use of medication at a clinic level. I play an important role in the care of our clients as they transition through care settings by ensuring correct and appropriate medication usage.

It is an innovative role that adds value to the primary health care outcomes of our clients.

In my work at Galambila I find the dispensing record and medicines view particularly useful. When performing a Home Medicines Review (HMR), this helps me assess dispensing intervals and gives an indication of medication adherence.

A phone call to the community pharmacist is still useful and important for their insights given the regularity of contact with patients. However this saves a major aspect of the conversation as well as unnecessary paperwork.

I also find discharge summaries particularly useful in ensuring the patient’s transition back into community is smooth. This is especially pertinent when they are discharged from a non local hospital and it isn’t sent directly to us.

A simple, but powerful example was when an unknown patient presented to see the GP. The patient did not have strong recollection about their previous treatment. They were asking for prescriptions but couldn’t remember what it was they took, nor could they name a recent community pharmacy (only the town). We were unable to get in contact with their previous GP.

In the past, it would have taken me 30 minutes to obtain the information I need. However, they had an active My Health Record and I was able to quickly access this with the GP and we were able to provide the care the patient needed immediately.

I believe the potential for My Health Record is incredible, especially for patient safety in terms of medication management. As time goes on and the conformity with clinical software increases, having someone’s renal function at your fingertips when dispensing medicines such as rivaroxaban, for example will revolutionise the dispensing process in the community.

In the future I imagine it will be part of my daily practice and widely accepted by the public and health professionals as an incredibly useful tool for more effective and efficient care.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Telehealth News Alert : 1.@RuralDoctorsAus and @ACRRM call for a strong commitment to boost access to telehealth services for patients in the bush. 2. #TeleOutreach improving hearing outcomes for children in remote communities

Telehealth is already proving its worth in making healthcare more accessible to rural and remote patients, through enabling them to undertake follow-up consults with distant specialists via videoconferencing (accompanied by their local GP) or to undertake mental health consults with psychologists.

 This has been a great start, and we commend the current and previous governments for investing in this important area.

 But it is now time to take telehealth to the next level.

 We are calling on the Federal Government to now fund telehealth consultations for rural and remote patients with their local GPs, and for Federal Labor to commit to doing the same if they are elected.

Boosting access to consults with local rural GPs via telehealth for those living in the bush would be a tremendous step forward in making it easier for more rural and remote patients to improve their health outcomes.”

RDAA President, Dr Adam Coltzau see full Press Release Part 1 Below

Download Submission Here

RDAA ACRRM telehealth submission

Watch NACCHO TV example here

 ” Our new tele-follow up prog for children with hearing aids in remote communities includes a family-nominated Hearing Helper role. We support them to support family & they help us connect via video. Wondering if this is novel?”

Australian Hearing has launched a trial of a teleOutreach service that provides a follow-up appointment with hearing impaired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote locations via video-chat ”

Sam Harkus See Part 2 Below

As the major political parties develop their election platforms in the lead-up to the next federal election, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) are calling for a strong commitment to boost access to telehealth services for patients in the bush.

RDAA and ACRRM have lodged a submission with the major parties that proposes increasing access to telehealth consults with rural GPs as part of a cycle of care arrangement for rural and remote patients.

The patient would first see their regular rural or remote GP face-to-face and then be able to access and MBS rebate for a fixed number of follow-up consultations by telehealth — not just for specific conditions, but also for routine general practice health care checks.

The submission has been supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

ACRRM President, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, said: “The tyranny of distance discourages many rural patients from seeing their doctor.

“For many rural patients who live on properties far from town, or who live many hours’ drive away from their nearest GP, a trip to the doctor even for a short consultation can entail a full day away from the farm, work or home.

“Sometimes this can be a big contributor in rural and remote patients not visiting their doctor, even when they have an underlying health condition and should be seeing the doctor regularly for checkups.

“Increasing access to telehealth consults with their regular GP for these patients will make it much easier for them to get their health checked regularly.

“The initial rollout of telehealth in the specialist care and mental healthcare space has shown that it can be very successful in making healthcare more accessible in the bush, provided it is used to support, rather than replace, face-to-face services.

“It would be great to see telehealth now expanded to increase the ability of rural and remote patients to consult their local rural GP for a wide range of conditions, including  follow-up checks and ongoing care for chronic conditions.”

Part 2

For the past three decades Australian Hearing has been dedicated to improving access to hearing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Now Australian Hearing has launched a trial of a teleOutreach service to further our support. This service provides a follow-up appointment with hearing impaired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote locations via video-chat.

The service, called TeleFUP, is led by Australian Hearing’s dedicated team of outreach audiologists and delivers support to children in remote communities after they are fitted with their first hearing aid.

The six-month trial will focus on providing follow up support to children and some adults within two to three weeks of receiving their hearing aid. These children and their families currently wait on average three months for a face-to-face follow-up. A small teleOutreach team of Sydney and Melbourne-based audiologists will connect with remote community clients across the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

A strength of the TeleFUP program will be community Hearing Helpers. These are people who live and work in the community, who already play a role in the child’s life. Australian Hearing will also support the Helpers remotely so they can provide assistance to families.

“For over 30 years, the aim of Australian Hearing’s outreach program has been to improve access to hearing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through building strong community connections. The program has reached a new landmark with the launch of the TeleFUP trial,” says Samantha Harkus, Principal Audiologist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services, Australian Hearing.

“The first few weeks with a hearing aid are critical. It’s a time when extra support is needed.  However, in remote communities there is usually less assistance available for families. Through TeleFUP, Australian Hearing can provide better support from a distance and help to strengthen community support. This will make it easier for children to make great use of their hearing aids so they can hear easily,” says Samantha.

TeleFUP is Australian Hearing’s second teleOutreach program, now joining TeleFIT which started in 2016. TeleFIT is a video-fitting clinic aimed at children under five years in remote communities.

As an Australian Hearing initiative implemented in partnership with Queensland’s Aboriginal Hearing Health program Deadly Ears, TeleFIT has significantly reduced waiting time and tripled the number of children receiving hearing aids before they start school.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MensHealthWeek 3 of 3 #OchreDay2018 News 1. @GregHuntMP announces a National Male Health Strategy to support the health of men and boys 2. @MyHealthRec Men encouraged to connect with their health with a #Myhealthrecord

During 2018 Men’s Health Week it is important to remember that in Australia, like most countries, males have poorer health outcomes on average than females.

More males die at every stage of life. Males have more accidents, are more likely to take their own lives and are more prone to lifestyle-related chronic health conditions than women and girls at the same age.

This is why I am announcing today, the beginning of a process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030. “

The Hon. Greg Hunt Minister for Health full press release Part 1

The AMA welcomes today’s announcement of the establishment of a 10-year National Male Health Strategy that will target the mental and physical health of men and boys.

The AMA called for a major overhaul of men’s health policy in April this year, including a new national strategy to address the different expectations, experiences, and situations facing Australian men.

Australian men are less likely to seek treatment from a general practitioner or other health professional, and are less likely to have the supports and social connections needed when they experience physical and mental health problems

We look forward to engaging with the Turnbull Government to develop initiatives to address the reasons why men are reluctant to engage with GPs, and the consequence of that reluctance, and to invest in innovative models of care than overcome these barriers “

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA was pleased that the Federal Government recognised that Australian males have poorer health outcomes, on average, than Australian females. In full Part 2 below

Encouraging men to discuss their health with their doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare specialist can be difficult.

My Health Record supports and assists men to have these conversations, enabling better connected care and, ultimately, better health outcomes,”

My Health Record gives men and the broader community the capacity to upload important health information including allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test results and immunisations; supporting them in remembering the dates of tests, medicine names, or dosages “

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Medical Adviser Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record provided many valuable benefits for men. in full Part 3 Below

NACCHO Aboriginal #MensHealthWeek and #OchreDay2018 Launch :

Download 30 years 1988 – 2018 of Aboriginal Male Health Strategies and Summit recommendations

To celebrate #MensHealthWeek NACCHO has launched its National #OchreDay2018 Mens Health Summit program and registrations

The NACCHO Ochre Day Health Summit in August provides a national forum for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male delegates, organisations and communities to learn from Aboriginal male health leaders, discuss their health concerns, exchange share ideas and examine ways of improving their own men’s health and that of their communities

The two day conference is free: To register

Part 1 Greg Hunt press release

The Australian Government will establish a decade-long National Male Health Strategy that will focus on the mental and physical health of men and boys.

During 2018 Men’s Health Week it is important to remember that in Australia, like most countries, males have poorer health outcomes on average than females.

More males die at every stage of life. Males have more accidents, are more likely to take their own lives and are more prone to lifestyle-related chronic health conditions than women and girls at the same age.

This is why I am announcing today, the beginning of a process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030.

Building on the 2010 National Male Health Policy, the strategy will aim to identify what is required to improve male health outcomes and provide a framework for taking action.

The strategy will be developed in consultation with key experts and stakeholders in male health, and importantly, the public will be invited to have a say through online consultation later this year.

Australian men and boys are vital to the health and happiness of their families and communities, but need to pay more attention to their own mental and physical wellbeing.

During Men’s Health Week, men are encouraged to talk about their health with someone they trust.

I encourage all men to take time this week to think about their own health and wellbeing and participate in events happening across the country.

The Turnbull Government provides funding to a number of organisations that focus on the health of men and boys including Men’s Health Information Resource Centre at Western Sydney University, Andrology Australia and the Australian Men’s Health Forum.

The National Male Health Strategy builds on and complements the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020 to 2030 I announced at the National Women’s Health Summit in February.

Part 2 AMA WELCOMES NATIONAL MALE HEALTH STRATEGY

The AMA welcomes today’s announcement of the establishment of a 10-year National Male Health Strategy that will target the mental and physical health of men and boys.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA was pleased that the Federal Government recognised that Australian males have poorer health outcomes, on average, than Australian females.

“In Australia, men have a life expectancy of approximately four years less than women, and have a higher mortality rate from most leading causes of death,” Dr Bartone said.

“Australian men are less likely to seek treatment from a general practitioner or other health professional, and are less likely to have the supports and social connections needed when they experience physical and mental health problems.

“An appropriately-funded and implemented National Male Health Strategy is needed to deliver a cohesive platform for the improvement of male health service access and men’s health outcomes.

“This does not mean taking funding away from women’s health strategies. Initiatives that address the health needs of one gender should not occur at the expense of the other.

“Men and women should be given equal opportunity to realise their potential for a healthy life.

“The AMA congratulates Health Minister, Greg Hunt, for his decision to begin the process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030.

“We look forward to engaging with the Turnbull Government to develop initiatives to address the reasons why men are reluctant to engage with GPs, and the consequence of that reluctance, and to invest in innovative models of care than overcome these barriers.

“Compared to women, Australian men not only see their GP less often but, when they do see a doctor, it is for shorter consultations, and typically when a condition or illness is advanced.

“Men’s Health Week is an opportune time for Australian men to do something positive for their physical or mental health – book in for a preventive health check with a trusted GP, get some exercise, have an extra alcohol-free day, or reach out to check on the wellbeing of a mate.”

The AMA Position Statement on Men’s Health 2018 is at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/mens-health-2018

Background

  • Australian men are more than twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than Australian women.
  • Men have a lower five-year survival rate for all cancers than women.
  • Australian men experience approximately 75 per cent of the burden of drug-related harm.
  • More than three in four suicide deaths in Australia are men, and intentional self-harm is the leading cause of death in men under 54 years of age.
  • Men are more likely to be in full-time work and may have less time for medical appointments.
  • Men are traditionally employed in high-risk jobs, especially in the trades, transport, construction, and mining industries.
  • Australian men are twice as likely as Australian women to exceed the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption, with one in four men drinking at a rate that puts them at risk of alcohol-related disease.

 

Part 3

Creating a My Health Record is one way men can be proactive about their health and make it a priority this Men’s Health Week, running between June 11 – 17.

My Health Record is a secure online summary of a person’s health information that can be accessed at any time by the individual and their healthcare providers.

Australian Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer David Helmers said My Health Record will make it easier for men who may find visiting healthcare professionals difficult or uncomfortable.

“We know that men often avoid having conversations about their health – particularly when those conversations involve visiting a healthcare provider.

“My Health Record takes some of the pain out of keeping a consistent record of our health and is a great platform for ongoing health management.

“Right from the get-go males are more likely to be involved in accidents or become ill, so as we age, it becomes even more important to stay on top of health information,” Mr Helmers said.

33 year-old Nick Morton was forced to take a serious look at his overall health after suffering a heart attack while working in North Queensland.

“I had a rupture in my artery wall – it was a big wake-up call going into cardiac rehab and I was the youngest by 20 years. I ended up really thinking about my health and becoming more aware of my medical history so I registered with My Health Record,” Mr Morton said.

After Nick returned to the family doctor back in his home state, his Melbourne based doctor was able to securely log onto My Health Record and view Nick’s Queensland medical history.

“It helped me having a digital copy of everything instead of having to go to my GP or cardiologist with a binder full of all my records,” Mr Morton said.

All Australians will have the benefit of receiving a My Health Record before the end of 2018, unless they choose not to have one.

Getting familiar with what is included in an individual’s personal record can assist in being prepared in an emergency like the one Nick Morton experienced. Nick now advocates a more proactive approach.

“I thought I was in control of my health and took it for granted like most blokes my age. There’s no excuse not to keep track of your health. Go to your GP and ask about my Health Record.”

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Medical Adviser Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record provided many valuable benefits for men.

“Encouraging men to discuss their health with their doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare specialist can be difficult.”

“My Health Record supports and assists men to have these conversations, enabling better connected care and, ultimately, better health outcomes,” Dr Makeham said.

My Health Record gives men and the broader community the capacity to upload important health information including allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test results and immunisations; supporting them in remembering the dates of tests, medicine names, or dosages.

A major advantage of having a My Health Record is individuals having 24-hour, 7 day per week access to their own health information.

For further information visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or call 1800 723 471

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ehealth #MyHealthRecord : Download @CHFofAustralia @georgeinstitute Report : Digital health to transform Australia’s health system and save lives

“The time is now ripe to leverage this maturing digital health capacity in ways that are meaningful to both consumers and providers. If done well, it has potential to be transformative for Australia’s health system bringing about rapid enhancements in quality, safety, accessibility and efficiency,”

Digital disruption is not coming in health care – it is already here. For too long health has been lagging behind other sectors.

For Australia to embrace digital health and benefit from its huge potential, we need national leadership.

We need to invest in implementation and change management to avoid the risks and pitfalls that can accompany the roll-out of such powerful technology into a complex and sensitive area like health care “

CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells

Download full report here

GDigital_Report

Australia now has many of the building blocks in place to roll out a digitally enabled health system that could transform care services, an expert report has found.

The report, developed after an expert roundtable initiated by the Consumers Health Forum and The George Institute for Global Health, says “the time is now ripe” to support the expansion of digital health technology in vital areas including chronic care and residential aged care.

The report is based on discussions held by around 40 consumers, clinicians, academics, government and industry supported by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Roundtable attendees considered four sectors — chronic care, residential aged care, emergency care and end of life care — in terms of what is wanted from digital health, the current state of digital health in that sector and how to meet goals for the future.

The report says major progress is being made with My Health Record, e-prescriptions, patient registries, shared care portals, state-based digital health strategies and linked hospital patient information systems.

Professor David Peiris, Director of Health Systems Science at The George Institute, said emerging digital health strategies had the potential to transform Australia’s health system for both health care providers and consumers.

“Our report sets out clear recommendations on what is needed to enable people to be much more in control of their own health needs and to make informed choices about the care they choose – from urgent life-saving situations through to respecting their wishes at the end their life.

“We also want to ensure that every health professional in Australia can take full advantage of the digital health eco-system to improve people’s healthcare experience and provide care that can be co-ordinated across the system. Many Australians are tired of having to constantly repeat their story to multiple care providers and it’s vital that we tap into digital technology to ensure we deliver a more person-centred, safer and sustainable healthcare system.

“Australia has made a great start in its uptake of digital health technology and we have identified practical steps in several areas that could be rolled out rapidly. The challenge now is to ensure they are adopted.”

 

The recommendations identified by the roundtable included:

In chronic care: To trial virtual care teams to support patients with high care needs; and trial a “Patients Like Me” platform to enable patients with chronic and complex care needs to safely connect and share experiences with one another.

In residential aged care: Ensure that residents’ health and social services information is available in a single location, on a platform easily accessible by consumers and providers anywhere, anytime and on any device. Collate and publicise data that allows patients, their carers and future consumers to compare residential care facilities based on health outcomes and patient experiences.

In emergency care: Develop digital health technologies that leverage My Health Record data to be rapidly accessible to paramedics and other emergency providers; develop a text/image message system to support improved communication between emergency care and other medical teams and assist with referrals to other health care providers for post-discharge care.

In end of life care: Develop and promote existing professional and consumer portals that provider information on care options, medical services and pathways for those nearing end of life; and engage in targeted social media campaigns to encourage consumers and medical professionals to normalise conversations about death

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) remote clinics to access My Health Record

 

” Martu country is in the Little Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.

It’s remote. Very remote. The communities here are living rough and the healthcare teams who support them have to deal with a vast array of serious issues and health conditions, from dog bites to domestic violence, babies with temperatures and elderly people with septicaemia. I’m here to educate and train the Aboriginal Medical Service teams about the benefits of My Health Record.

Kathy Rainbird is Digital Health Programme Manager – Education, Learning and Development – Clinical and Consumer Engagement and Clinical Governance Division at the Australian Digital Health Agency and has been supporting the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) in the Pilbara since June 2017

 ” With a My Health Record, both a patient and their healthcare professional can gain immediate access to important health information on-line.

This can improve co-ordinated care outcomes, reduce duplication and provide vital information in emergency situations.

“It also enables us, as a consumer, to become more active in managing your health and provide links between the multiple services many of us may need through our lives.”

                     MY HEALTH RECORD WEBSITE

 HISTORY OF E-Health/My Health Record from NACCHO

” COAG Health ministers decided on Friday 24 March that the My Health Rec­ord system would be opt-out, making electronic medical records compulsory for all Australians unless they said otherwise, despite trials of that model having yet to report.

Those trials concluded this year, with only 1.9 per cent of individuals deciding to opt-out — so proving the success of this approach “

Visiting Martu country

I sit in the clinic, feeling slightly helpless as more and more people come through the door to see the doctor who I shared the plane with in over the desert this morning.

I wait to have the chance to talk to the clinic staff, in between them sorting out eye drops, mail deliveries, checking over those patients who are less crook, taking phone calls, welcoming people as they come through the door, making sure people don’t walk back out the door before they get the chance to see the doctor.

I’ve been supporting the local Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) since June 2017, when I was first introduced to their now CEO, Robby Chibawe. So I was very pleased in March 2018 when I heard from their clinical manager, Cynthia, that they now had their HPI-O number and NASH certificate to connect to the My Health Record system. I joined their regular all-staff meeting by phone to give them an introduction to My Health Record.

Then Robby and Cynthia invited me to come in person, on their doctor’s charter flight. It’s an invitation I can’t refuse. I am honoured to accept.

I arrive in Newman, a mining town in the Pilbara, and meet Katie, PAMS’ clinical quality improvement officer.

We talk about the challenges of connecting to their remote clinics. The Newman and Jigalong clinics have an online version of their clinical software, but the clinics further away use an offline version that is synced via a side-loader to their server in Jigalong overnight. We agree that the best solution at this stage will be for the remote clinics to access My Health Record via the Provider Portal.

We put this theory to the test on the online version in Newman. The green My Health Record appears; a good sign. But when we click on it to try to view a record, an error appears. Luckily, I know our Agency Help Centre team are on hand and likely to be able to provide a solution. We give them a call and I leave Katie on the path to getting it resolved while I head to Jigalong via 4WD.

After two and a half hours of bumpy, red-dirt roads, I arrive at the clinic in Jigalong. This remote aboriginal community was made famous as the place where three aboriginal girls walked the Rabbit Proof Fence in the 1930s. At the clinic, I squeeze into a consultation room with the team of three remote nurses, an aboriginal health worker and the clinic receptionist.

We try opening My Health Record, and it works! Katie has resolved the error. Then I go into training mode and take them through access and viewing, uploading and registering patients for My Health Record. The nurses can immediately see the potential benefits for their patients.

Coming in to land at Kunawarritji community

Lance, the eldest and most experienced of the team, says “This is going to save us so much time chasing information. It sometimes takes us three weeks to track down a discharge summary.”

Christine, their clinic receptionist, is more circumspect. She points out that there are many people in this community who aren’t known to Medicare and were born “in the bush.” This is really one of those hard-to-reach groups.

There has been an emergency overnight and the Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS) are on their way. The doctor’s charter plane is also scheduled to arrive.

The doctor’s plane arrives first, but cannot land immediately because of wild horses on the airstrip. A low buzz over the airstrip sees them off – a practised manoeuvre in these parts. The doctor’s plane lands first, with the RFDS flight following close behind.

Two planes on the airstrip at once is an unusual sight around here. The RFDS plane is, however, unfortunately a regular visitor to Jigalong, with Christine informing me they’ve had over 50 emergency retrievals in the past year – that’s one every week.

The flight over the desert is beautiful. It is a truly awesome landscape. I reflect on the songlines of the seven sisters and the amazing cultural history infused in this place.

My training is well received. I spend the evenings chatting with the nurses and visiting doctor about their experiences, how things work out here and showing them the demonstration version of My Health Record in their clinical software.

I am confident they will see real benefits from My Health Record before long, especially now the expansion program is underway.

Visiting Martu country has been an amazing experience and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

My thanks to PAMS for inviting me to visit and helping organise my journey. I also wish to pay my respects to the traditional custodians of the land which I was honoured to visit, Martu Country, and the elders past, present and future.

Kathy Rainbird is Digital Health Programme Manager – Education, Learning and Development – Clinical and Consumer Engagement and Clinical Governance Division at the Australian Digital Health Agency.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #MenziesOration2017 by Professor Ian Anderson AO Democratising Indigenous Data

 

 ” Democratised data is key to unlocking genuine regional empowerment in people taking responsibility for their own futures

We are committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Establishing data governance arrangements will be important.

We need to engage fully with Indigenous Australians in the process of developing, designing, collecting and utilising data.

We need to place a greater emphasis on the use of regional data.  This will allow communities to take ownership of placed based actions and to hold governments and service providers to account.

We also need to look at ways to improve data access while at the same time always ensuring individual privacy is maintained.

Improved access to data can help drive research, and help build an evidence base to support and drive policy that improves outcomes for First Australians.

We know a one-size-fits-all approach is not the most effective way to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It will put behind us the negative mindset, replacing it with a positive narrative focused on enabling Indigenous Australians to lead lives they value while at the same time ”

 The 2017 Menzies Oration delivered by Professor Ian Anderson AO. Speaking about ‘Democratising Data/Building a platform for Indigenous Development’. Darwin NT Friday 24 November
Introduction

Ya Pulingina. Pangkerner Ian Anderson Palawa Trowunna: Trawlwoolway, Pairrebenne, Plairmairrerenner. Kartoometer mynee larrakia teeanner. Carnee meenee nenener nicer Lanena.

I would like to thank the Menzies School of Health Research and Director, Professor Alan Cass, for inviting me to speak tonight and for hosting this event.

It is a great honour to deliver the 2017 Menzies Oration.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Menzies School of Health Research for its ongoing commitment to examining and understanding Indigenous health. Research undertaken by the school has made a significant contribution in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

I would also like acknowledge the many distinguished guests attending today:

  • the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory;
  • Professor Lawrence Cram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President Research and Research Training; and
  • Professor Alan Cass, Director of the Menzies School of Health Research

Today, I would like to discuss the importance of data within the policy context.

Data can be an extraordinarily powerful tool.

Data shapes so much of our society. Governments, businesses, non-profit organisations and individuals all use data to inform their decision-making.

We live in a data age.

The Australian Productivity Commission in their inquiry on Data Availability and Use drew on IBM estimates [1]:

‘the amount of digital data generated globally in 2002 (five terabytes) is now generated every two days, with 90% of the world’s information generated in just the past two years’

In addition to significant growth in the amount of data being collected, we also have the opportunity to better use our data assets.  We have more sophisticated technologies to analyse and integrate data—in fact, we are also able to analyse more data, more quickly at lower cost.

By way of example, decoding the human genome involves analysing 3 billion base pairs—when this was first done in 2003, it had taken over 13 years at a reported cost of around $1 billion. Presently, it can be done in a day at a cost of approximately $3,000. [2]

Many people here tonight are in some way involved in the production of data. You might collect data as part of service delivery or part of a research project, analyse data to build information and evidence, or use this information and evidence to make policy decisions.

Data collected through research, survey and census or from the administration of government programs and activities, has played an important role in guiding policy and practice, particularly in Indigenous affairs.

Public data is a national asset. However, its value is only realised when data is transformed into information, and more importantly knowledge.

Data can help shape debate, identify areas of need, and be used to analyse the effectiveness of policy and other actions.

But, for this to occur, the data must be of high quality and we must collect the right data. Moreover, it must be accessible to all. I would also like to stress that data is not useful in isolation and must be combined with the skills and capabilities to make the most of it.

Democratising data – Data and Indigenous peoples, changing approaches

Now, in using the phrase—democratising data—I am signalling a change agenda to create the systems and platforms that ensure end-users are able to access data in a timely way. One that is relevant to a wider audience and allows data to be used.

The availability of data on Indigenous Australia has reflected broader politics.

It is reasonable to infer that in the late 19th century when representatives of the then six British colonies—New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania—came together to draft up Australia’s constitution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not factored in.

It is probable that those who considered how the soon-to-be-federated country might operate did not want to include Indigenous people in financing arrangements for the states, or for the development of services or planning purposes.

It is also possible the founding fathers of the Australian federation did not think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were long for this world. That they were a dying race.

Under such scenarios, there would have been no need for information about Australia’s Indigenous population to be collated. The ‘race’ clauses included in our original constitution reflect this.

It was not until the successful 1967 referendum that paved the way for the Commonwealth to take on responsibility for the administration of Indigenous Affairs at a national level that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were formally included in our population counts. This marked the start of the first phase of Indigenous data development in Australia.

In the years that have followed, data sets concerning Indigenous Australians have slowly been built up. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, for example, has developed a clear picture of the lives and experiences of Indigenous Australians.

Over the past three to four decades, significant improvements have been made in the availability and quality of Indigenous data.

This includes Indigenous data obtained through our national survey program run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Equally important has been the collection of vital statistics—such as, data on births and deaths, hospital data and Medicare data.

However, the most significant innovation over the last two decades has been the development of performance measurement systems. These systems draw on data made available through our data collections systems. They have been developed with the specific purpose of enhancing policy decision making processes.

Perhaps one of the most sophisticated data sets relating to Australia’s Indigenous population can be found in the Indigenous health sector.

The move earlier this century to start strategically using data through vehicles such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework reports marked the beginning of the second phase of Indigenous data development in this country.

The first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report was produced in 2006. Commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC), the data in these reports, updated every two years, and has been used by Australia’s political leaders to inform their decision-making in Indigenous Affairs.

Data is collated across three tiers: health status and outcomes; determinants of health; and health systems measures. Significantly, the measures had strategic value and ‘buy in’ from the states and territories.

The data contained in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework played a pivotal role in the decision by the Council of Australian Governments to allocate resources in 2008 to address Indigenous disadvantage. However, just as importantly, the data informed where the resources would be allocated.

The collation, analysis and strategic use of Indigenous data by our political leaders is one thing—I will discuss this further when I describe our proposed approach to the refresh of Close the Gap—but making data accessible and relevant to a wider audience—and in this case, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—is another thing altogether.

Too often, data is not presented in a way that is accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Furthermore, it is interpreted in a way that is not connected to Indigenous reality.

Our apologies that we cannot publish the full oration speech here :

Read in Full Here

https://www.pmc.gov.au/news-centre/indigenous-affairs/2017-menzies-oration-democratising-indigenous-data

 

NACCHO NEWS ALERT: COAG Health Ministers Council Communique acknowledge the importance #ACCHO’s advancing Aboriginal health

 

  Included in this NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert

  1. All issues 11 included in  Communique highlighting ACCHO health
  2. Health Ministers approve Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy
  3. Transcript Health Minister Hunt Press Conference

” The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, attended the COAG Health Council discussed the Commonwealth’s current work on Indigenous health priorities.

In particular this included the development of the 2018 iteration of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 that will incorporate strategies and actions to address the social determinants and cultural determinants of health.

Ministers also considered progress on other key Indigenous health issues including building workforce capability, cultural safety and environmental health, where jurisdictions can work together more closely with the Commonwealth to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Ministers acknowledged the importance of collaboration and the need to coordinate activities across governments to support a culturally safe and comprehensive health system.

Ministers also acknowledge the importance of community controlled organisations in advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. ”

1.Development of the next iteration of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 COAG Health Council 

Read over 50 NACCHO NATSIHP Articles published over past 50 years

INTRODUCTION

The federal, state and territory Health Ministers met in Brisbane on August 4 at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues.

The meeting was chaired by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon Jill Hennessy MP.

Health Ministers welcomed the New South Wales Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Tanya Davies MP, the Victorian Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Martin Foley MP, the ACT Minister for Mental Health Mr Shane Rattenbury and the Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP who participated in a joint discussion with Health Ministers about mental health issues.

Major items discussed by Health Ministers today included:

2.Andrew Forrest and the Eliminate Cancer Initiative

Mr Andrew Forrest joined the meeting to address Health Ministers in his capacity as Chairman of the Minderoo Foundation to discuss the Eliminate Cancer Initiative. The Minderoo Foundation is one of Autralia’s largest and most active philanthropic groups. It has established the Eliminate Cancer Initiatve (the Initiative), a global initiative dedicated to making cancer non-lethal with some of the world’s leading global medicine and anti-cancer leaders.

The Initiative is a united effort to convert cancer into a non-lethal disease through global collaboration of scientific, medical and academic institutes, commercially sustained through the support of the philanthropic, business and government sectors worldwide.

Australia has a critical role to play in this highly ambitious and thoroughly worthwhile goal.

3.Family violence and primary care

Today, Health Ministers discussed the significant health impacts on those people experiencing family violence.

Health Ministers acknowledged that health-care providers, particularly those in a primary care setting, are in a unique position to create a safe and confidential environment to enable the disclosure of violence, while offering appropriate support and referrals to other practitioners and services.

Recognising the importance of national leadership in this area, Ministers agreed to develop a plan to address barriers to primary care practitioners identifying and responding to patients experiencing family violence.

Ministers also agreed to work with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to develop and implement a national training package.

Further advice will be sought from Primary Health Networks on existing family violence services, including Commonwealth, State and NGO service providers in their regions, with a view to developing an improved whole-of-system responses to the complex needs of clients who disclose family violence

4.Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

Health Ministers endorsed the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan 2017-2022 and its Implementation Plan.

The Fifth Plan is focused on improvements across eight targeted priority areas:

1. Achieving integrated regional planning and service delivery

2. Effective suicide prevention

3. Coordinated treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness

4. Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

5. Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness and reducing early mortality

6. Reducing stigma and discrimination

7. Making safety and quality central to mental health service delivery

8. Ensuring that the enablers of effective system performance and system improvement are in place

The Fifth Plan also responds to calls for a national approach to address suicide prevention and will be used to guide other sectors and to support health agencies to interact with other portfolios to drive action in this priority area.

Ongoing collaboration and engagement across the sector and with consumers and carers is required to successfully implement the Fifth Plan and achieve meaningful reform to improve the lives of people living with mental illness including the needs of children and young people.

Health Ministers also agreed that mental health workforce issues would be considered by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council.

5.The National Psychosocial Supports Program

Health Ministers agreed to establish a time-limited working group to progress the Commonwealth’s National Psychosocial Supports program. This will have the objective of developing bilateral agreements to support access to essential psychosocial supports for persons with severe mental illness resulting in psychosocial disability who are not eligible for the NDIS.

Those bilateral agreements will take into account existing funding being allocated for this purpose by states and territories.

6.Strengthened penalties and prohibition orders under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law

Health Ministers agreed to proceed with amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law) to strengthen penalties for offences committed by people who hold themselves out to be a registered health practitioner, including those who use reserved professional titles or carry out restricted practices when not registered.

Ministers also agreed to proceed with an amendment to introduce a custodial sentence with a maximum term of up to three years for these offences.

These important reforms will be fast tracked to strengthen public protection under the National Law. Preparation will now commence on a draft amendment bill to be brought forward to Ministers for approval, with a view to this being introduced to the Queensland Parliament in 2018. The Western Australian Parliament is also expected to consider legislative changes to the Western Australian National Law.

7.Amendment to mandatory reporting provisions for treating health practitioner

Health Ministers agree that protecting the public from harm is of paramount importance as is supporting practitioners to seek health and in particular mental health treatment as soon as possible.

Health Ministers agreed that doctors should be able to seek treatment for health issues with confidentiality whilst also preserving the requirement for patient safety.

A nationally consistent approach to mandatory reporting provisions will provide confidence to health practitioners that they can feel able to seek treatment for their own health conditions anywhere in Australia.

Agree for AHMAC to recommend a nationally consistent approach to mandatory reporting, following discussion paper and consultation with consumer and practitioner groups, with a proposal to be considered by COAG Health Council at their November 2017 meeting, to allow the amendment to be progressed as part of Tranche 1A package of amendments and related guidelines.

8.National Digital Health Strategy and Australian Digital Health Agency Forward Work Plan 2018–2022

Health Ministers approved the National Digital Health Strategy and the Australian Digital Health Agency Work Plan for 2018-2022.

Download Strategy and work plan here  

The Strategy has identified the priority areas that form the basis of Australia’s vision for digital health.

This Strategy will build on Australia’s existing leadership in digital health care and support consumers and clinicians to put the consumer at the centre of their health care and provide choice, control and transparency.

Expanding the public reporting of patient safety and quality measures

Health Ministers supported Queensland and other interested jurisdictions to collaboratively identify options in relation to aligning patient safety and quality reporting standards across public and private hospitals nationally.

Ministers agreed that the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) would undertake work with other interested jurisdictions to identify options in relation to aligning public reporting standards of quality healthcare and patient safety across public and private hospitals nationally.

The work be incorporated into the national work being progressed on Australia’s health system performance information and reporting frameworks.

 

9.National human biomonitoring program

Health Ministers noted that human biomonitoring data can play a key role in identifying chemicals which potentially cause adverse health effects and action that may need to be taken to protect public health.

Health Ministers agreed that a National Human Biomonitoring Program could be beneficial in assisting with the understanding of chemical exposures in the Australian population.

Accordingly, Ministers agreed that the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council will explore this matter in more detail by undertaking a feasibility assessment of a National Human Biomonitoring Program.

Clarification of roles, responsibilities and relationships for national bodies established under the National Health Reform Agreement

States and territories expressed significant concern that the proposed Direction to IHPA will result in the Commonwealth retrospectively not funding activity that has been already delivered by states and territories but not yet funded by the Commonwealth.

States and territories were concerned that this could reduce services to patients going forward as anticipated funding from the Commonwealth will be less than currently expected.

The Commonwealth does not agree with the concerns of the states and territories and will seek independent advice from the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to ensure hospital service activity for 2015-2016 has been calculated correctly. The Commonwealth committed to work constructively and cooperatively with all jurisdictions to better understand the drivers of increased hospital services in funding agreements.

10.Legitimate and unavoidable costs of providing public hospital services in Western Australia

Health Ministers discussed a paper by Western Australia on legitimate and unavoidable costs of providing public hospital services in Western Australia, particularly in regional and remote areas, and recognised that those matters create a cumulative disadvantage to that state. Health Ministers acknowledged that Western Australia will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government and the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority to resolve those matters.

11.Vaccination

Health Ministers unanimously confirmed the importance of vaccination and rejected campaigns against vaccination.

All Health Ministers expressed their acknowledgement of the outgoing Chair, the Hon Ms Jill Hennessy and welcomed the incoming Chair Ms Meegan Fitzharris MLA from the Australian Capital Territory.

Health Ministers approve Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy

Digital information is the bedrock of high quality healthcare.

The benefits for patients are signicant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions. Digital health can help save and improve lives.

To support the uptake of digital health services, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council today approved Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy (2018-2022).

Download Strategy and work plan here  

In a communique issued after their council meeting in Brisbane August 4 , the Health Ministers noted:

“The Strategy has identified the priority areas that form the basis of Australia’s vision for digital health. It will build on Australia’s existing leadership in digital health care and support consumers and clinicians to put the consumer at the centre of their health care and provide choice, control, and transparency.”

Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) CEO Tim Kelsey welcomed COAG approval for the new Strategy.

“Australians are right to be proud of their health services – they are among the best, most accessible, and efficient in the world.

Today we face new health challenges and rapidly rising demand for services. It is imperative that we work together to harness the power of technology and foster innovation to support high quality, sustainable health and care for all, today and into the future,” he said.

The Strategy – Safe, seamless, and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia – identifies seven key priorities for digital health in Australia including delivery of a My Health Record for every Australian by 2018 – unless they choose not to have one.

More than 5 million Australians already have a My Health Record, which provides potentially lifesaving access to clinical reports of medications, allergies, laboratory tests, and chronic conditions. Patients and consumers can access their My Health Record at any time online or on their mobile phone.

The Strategy will also enable paper-free secure messaging for all clinicians and will set new standards to allow real-time sharing of patient information between hospitals and other care professionals.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Michael Gannon has welcomed the Strategy’s focus on safe and secure exchange of clinical information, as it will empower doctors to deliver improved patient care.

“Doctors need access to secure digital records. Having to wade through paperwork and chase individuals and organisations for information is

archaic. The AMA has worked closely with the ADHA on the development of the new strategy and looks forward to close collaboration on its implementation,” Dr Gannon said.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President Dr Bastian Seidel said that the RACGP is working closely and collaboratively with the ADHA and other stakeholders to ensure that patients, GPs, and other health professionals have access to the best possible data.

“The Strategy will help facilitate the sharing of high-quality commonly understood information which can be used with confidence by GPs and other health professionals. It will also help ensure this patient information remains confidential and secure and is available whenever and wherever it is needed,” Dr Seidel said.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President George Tambassis said that technology would increasingly play an important role in supporting sustainable healthcare delivery.

“The Guild is committed to helping build the digital health capabilities of community pharmacies and advance the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

“We are working with the ADHA to ensure that community pharmacy dispensing and medicine-related services are fully integrated into the My Health Record – and are committed to supporting implementation of the National Digital Health Strategy as a whole,” George Tambassis said.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) President Dr Shane Jackson said that the Strategy would support more effective medicationmanagement, which would improve outcomes for patients and improve the efficiency of health services.

“There is significant potential for pharmacists to use digital health records as a tool to communicate with other health professionals, particularly during transitions of care,” Dr Jackson said.

The Strategy will prioritise development of new digital services to support newborn children, the elderly, and people living with chronic disease. It will also support wider use of telehealth to improve access to services, especially in remote and rural Australia and set standards for better information sharing in medical emergencies – between the ambulance, the hospital, and the GP.

Consumers Health Forum (CHF) Leanne Wells CEO said that the Strategy recognises the importance of empowering Australians to be makers and shapers of the health system rather than just the users and choosers.

“We know that when consumers are activated and supported to better self-manage and coordinate their health and care, we get better patient experience, quality care, and better health outcomes.

“Digital health developments, including My Health Record, are ways in which we can support that to happen. It’s why patients should also be encouraged to take greater control of their health information,” Leanne Wells said.

Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) President Emma Hossack said that the Strategy distils seven key themes that set expectations at a national level.“The strategy recognises the vital role industry plays in providing the smarts and innovation on top of government infrastructure.

This means improved outcomes, research, and productivity. Industry is excited to work with the ADHA to develop the detailed actions to achieve the vision which could lead to Australia benefitting from one of the strongest health software industries in the world,” Emma Hossack said.

Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) CEO Dr Louise Schaper welcomed the Strategy’s focus on workforce development.

“If our complex health system is to realise the benefits from information and technology, and become more sustainable, we need clinical leaders with a sound understanding of digital health,” Dr Schaper said.

The Strategy was developed by all the governments of Australia in close partnership with patients, carers and the clinical professionals who serve them – together with leaders in industry and science.

The Strategy draws on evidence of clinical and economic benefit from many sources within Australia and overseas, and emphasises the priority of patient confidentiality as new digital services are implemented.

The ADHA has established a Cyber Security Centre to ensure Australian healthcare is at the cutting edge of international data security.

The ADHA, which has responsibility for co-ordinating implementation of the Strategy, will now be consulting with partners across the community to develop a Framework for Action. The framework will be published later this year and will detail implementation plans for the Strategy.

The National Digital Health Strategy Safe, seamless and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia is available on

https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/australias-national-digital-health-strategy (https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/australias-national-digital-health-strategy)

Greg Hunt Press Conference

Topics: COAG Health Council outcomes; The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan; support for doctors and nurses mental health; hospital funding; same-sex marriage

GREG HUNT:
Today was a huge breakthrough in terms of mental health. The Fifth National Mental Health Plan was approved by the states.

What this is about is enormous progress on suicide prevention. It has actually become the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, so a real focus on suicide prevention.

In particular, the focus on what happens when people are discharged from hospital, the group in Australia that are most likely to take their own lives.

We actually know not just the group, but the very individuals who are most at risk. That’s an enormous step.

The second thing here is, as part of that plan, a focus on eating disorders, and it is a still-hidden issue. In 2017, the hidden issue of eating disorders, of anorexia and bulimia, and the prevalence and the danger of it is still dramatically understated in Australia.

The reality is that this is a silent killer and particularly women can be caught up for years and years, and so there’s a mutual determination, a universal determination to progress on eating disorders, and that will now be a central part of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

And also, as part of that, we’ve included, at the Commonwealth’s request today, a real focus on early intervention services for young people under 16. Pat McGorry has referred to it as CATs for Kids, meaning Crisis Assessment Teams, and the opportunity.

And this is a really important step because, for many families, when they have a crisis, there’s nowhere to turn. This is a way through. So those are all enormous steps forward.

The other mental health area where we’ve made big, big progress is on allowing doctors to seek routine mental health treatment.

There’s an agreement by all of the states and territories to work with the Commonwealth on giving doctors a pathway so as they can seek routine mental health treatment without being reported to the professional bodies.

JOURNALIST:
What has led to the increased focus on eating disorders? Has there been an uptick in the number of suicides resulting from that, or has there been an uptick in the number of cases?

GREG HUNT:
No, this has been silently moving along. It’s a personal focus. There are those that I have known, and then when we looked the numbers shortly after coming in, and dealt with organisations such as the Butterfly Foundation, they explained that it’s been a high level issue with the worst rate of loss of life amongst any mental health condition.

And so that’s a combination both of suicide, but also of loss of life due to physical collapse. And so it’s what I would regard as a personal priority from my own experience with others, but then the advocacy of groups like Butterfly Foundation has finally landed. It should’ve happened earlier, but it’s happening on our watch now.

JOURNALIST:
That would be my next question, is that I’m sure advocacy groups will say this is great that it’s happened, but it’s taken the Government so long. Why is it that you’re focussing on it now as opposed to…?

GREG HUNT:
I guess, I’ve only just become Minister. So from day one, this is one of the things I’ve wanted to do, and I’m really, personally, deeply pleased that we’ve made this enormous progress.

So I would say this, I can’t speak for the past, it is overdue, but on our watch collectively we’ve taken a huge step forward today.

Then the last thing is I’ve seen some reports that Queensland and Victoria may have been upset that some of their statistical anomalies were referred to what’s called IHPA (Independent Hospital Pricing Authority).

The reason why is that some of their figures simply didn’t pass the pub test.

The independent authority will assess them, but when you have 4000 per cent growth in one year in some services, 3300 per cent growth in some years in other services, then it would be negligent and irresponsible not to review them.

It may be the case that there was a more than 40-fold increase in some services, but the only sensible thing for the Commonwealth to do is to review it.

But our funding goes up each year every year at a faster rate than the states’ funding, and it’s gone up by $7.7 billion dollars since the current health agreement with the states was struck.

JOURNALIST:
Is that, sorry, relating to private health insurance, or is that something separate?

GREG HUNT:
No, that’s just in relation to, a couple of the states lodged claims for massive growth in individual items.

JOURNALIST:
Thank you. So was there a directive given today regarding private health policies to the states? Was that something that was discussed or something that …?

GREG HUNT:
Our paper was noted, and the states will respond. So we’ve invited the states to respond, they’ll respond individually.

JOURNALIST:
And regarding that mental health plan, besides their new focus on eating disorders, how is it different from previous mental health plans?

GREG HUNT:
So, a much greater focus on suicide prevention, a much greater focus on eating disorders, and a much greater focus on care for young children under 16.

JOURNALIST:
Is that something that you can give more specific details about? You’re saying there’s a much greater focus, but is there any specific information about what that would mean?

GREG HUNT:
As part of the good faith, the Commonwealth, I’ve written to the head of what’s called the Medical Benefits Schedule Review, so the Medicare item review, Professor Bruce Robinson and asked him and their team to consider, for the first time, specific additional treatment, an additional treatment item and what would be appropriate for eating disorders.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecords : Download Evaluation of Participation Trials Report

 ” The report on the evaluation of the opt-out trials for My Health Record showed that the approach would help ensure the full health benefits of a shared electronic health record could be realised.

CHF has been calling for an opt-out system backed by strong community engagement and education and the findings of this report endorse that position

  Consumer Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells Press release below

The Guild has long supported an opt-out model for My Health Record as the clearest path to meaningful use of a national digital health record system .

“Community pharmacy, as the most accessible community health care destination, has always been at the forefront of digital innovation and an opt-out model for the operation of My Health Record will enable community pharmacies to enhance their patient care.

It will also foster better health professional collaboration between care settings and provide key clinical data at important points of care across a patient’s journey through the health care system.”

National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis. See Full Press Release below

Download the 354 Page report here

Evaluation-of-the-My-Health-Record-Participation-Trials-Report

Read NACCHO E Health My Health Record articles over the past 5 years

Update From the Department of Health website

In July 2012, My Health Record (then called Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record) was launched.

This is a secure online summary of a person’s medications, diagnosed illnesses, treatments, allergies and tests.

Each person can control what goes onto their My Health Record, and who is allowed to see it.

For healthcare providers, knowing more about a patient’s medical history can lead to a better understanding of what is happening, and result in better treatment decisions.

In most parts of Australia individuals need to actively register for a My Health Record. From March to October 2016, trials of different participation arrangements were run.

The trials were of opt out arrangements in Northern Queensland and the Nepean Blue Mountains of New South Wales area, and innovative approaches to opt in in Western Australia and Ballarat.

The aim of the trials was to understand consumer reaction to different participation arrangements, as well as healthcare provider usage and upload of clinical information to the patients’ records, when most of their patients have a My Health Record.

These trials were conducted as a collaboration between the Department of Health (the Department), Primary Health Networks, the state health departments and relevant hospital and health services.

An independent evaluation of the trials commissioned by the Department of Health was conducted by Siggins Miller Consultants to look at the outcomes from these trials.

The Evaluation of the Participation Trials for the My Health Record is available below.

It will be used to inform future recommendations to the Government about the participation arrangements to best bring forward the benefits of the system to healthcare in Australia.

Consumer Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells Press release

Making My Health Record Work for Everyone

“We support a national opt-out roll out and support the report’s recommendation that this should be done in one national step. This would ensure a nationally consistent campaign would be rolled out and built on.”

“It is no surprise to us that once people have the benefits explained to them and their concerns around privacy and confidentiality addressed that they are happy to have and use the My Health Record. It is good to see that people not only do not opt out of the record but have started to use it” said Ms Wells.

“People are using their My Health Record because they recognise benefits of information bring shared, care being connected and duplicate tests bring avoided “

“The report shows that more work need to be done to raise awareness of the benefits of electronic health records. We support the report’s call for a comprehensive nationally driven but locally supported communication strategy that is targeted at consumers and health care providers. “

“This needs to be properly resourced and should be developed with consumer and health care provider input. It also needs to involve local community leaders who can be strong agents for change and champions of the roll-out.”

“We need to anticipate and avoid roadblocks to use of this vital new piece of our health care system future. We welcome the report’s acknowledgement that there is a need to streamline and improve access because consumers in the pilots found this to be a barrier.  Whether this is through improving My Gov or moving away from it completely, the important issue is that it makes it easier for consumers to use.”

For a national roll out to be successful  we need the Government to  commit  to further investment in their consumer facing infrastructure so that the system is reliable, accessible and resourced appropriately into the future” said Ms Wells ‘

We believe that if implemented the report’s 31 recommendations would deliver a world class system. It is important to remember that this is the first stage and the system will evolve.”

“Such major, deeply needed, change cannot be done on the cheap. To this end we reiterate our call that the government move away from the current budgetary requirement for all new health expenditure to be offset by savings in the health portfolio.”

My Health Record should be opt out, says the Guild

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has welcomed the success of the My Health Record trials which it says have confirmed the overwhelming benefits of the ‘opt out’ model involving automatic creation of patient records.

The formal evaluation of the trials, published today, has recommended that the Federal Government proceed to a national opt-out approach – a recommendation which the Guild says it fully supports.

The evaluation report says in part: “Taking all the data into consideration we can see no reason not to proceed with an opt-out approach in one national step rather than any progressive staged approach.”

The opt-out trials were conducted in the Northern Queensland PHN, and in the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN, with the final report on the trials completed in November last year. The opt-out trials included community pharmacists among the healthcare providers who took part.

When compared with two opt-in trials conducted in Ballarat and Perth, the opt-out trials achieved better outcomes in terms of participation, understanding and some aspects of use of the My Health Record system.

“The Guild has long supported an opt-out model for My Health Record as the clearest path to meaningful use of a national digital health record system,” said National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis.

“Community pharmacy, as the most accessible community health care destination, has always been at the forefront of digital innovation and an opt-out model for the operation of My Health Record will enable community pharmacies to enhance their patient care.

“It will also foster better health professional collaboration between care settings and provide key clinical data at important points of care across a patient’s journey through the health care system.

“An opt-out model with also provide a greater opportunity to further realise community pharmacies’ digital health potential within the patient-centric care model,” Mr Tambassis said.

The Pharmacy Guild has been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to explore ways to maximise the utilisation of community pharmacy as a vital component in the My Health Record system.

The My Health Record Participation Trials Evaluation Report is available on the health

Press Release AHHA  : Trial shows ‘opt-out’ model favoured for My Health Record

We are supportive of the “opt out” model for My Health Record, but with some important provisos’, says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

Ms Verhoeven was commenting on today’s release by the Australian Government Department of Health of a government-commissioned evaluation of participation trials for My Health Record, involving ‘opt-in’ as well as ‘opt-out’ regimes.

My Health Record is a way of securely sharing an individual’s health information between registered healthcare providers involved in a person’s care. Currently, both individuals and healthcare providers have to opt in, that is, register to participate.

‘The report released today comes down overwhelmingly in favour of the opt-out method’, Ms Verhoeven said. ‘Under this model, a My Health Record is automatically created for individuals.

For individuals, not having to do anything to create the record was seen as a major plus, while for healthcare providers, assisting in creating My Health Records, which would have been needed for some patients under the ‘opt-in’ model, was seen as impractical without additional funding and ultimately would be unsustainable.

‘Once the system and its benefits were explained, individuals had minimal confidentiality or security concerns. ‘And, interestingly, most consumers were strongly of the opinion that healthcare providers should not be able to opt out of the system. ‘We support the opt-out model, while acknowledging that the government has no obligation to take on what has been recommended in the report released today.

‘We are however concerned that the existing infrastructure may not have the appropriate capacity to support the recommended change—anecdotal evidence indicates that the current system is already operating at close to capacity and will need to be significantly upgraded to effectively manage the millions of additional records.

‘It would therefore not be wise to rush into this if we want to get this important change right. ‘Given a national rollout is likely to require support by the PHNs, they must be afforded adequate time to undertake collaborative planning, local mapping of digital capacity and capability and the flexibility to respond to local issues and contexts. The phase-in should be well-planned, with comprehensive training and a very strong communications strategy—both to consumers and healthcare providers. ‘Communications cannot be emphasised strongly enough.

The report found that there was very low awareness in the community of the current My Health Record arrangements, and very low awareness among all types of healthcare providers of the online training available for the current My Health Record system.’

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Delivery to @DaveGillespie of #RuralHealthConf priority delegate recommendations

 

 ” Rural and regional Australians have higher rates of major diseases including heart disease and stroke, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.

We also have a persistent and disturbingly large gap in health outcomes and life expectancy, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians “

Minister Gillespie said Australia’s long life expectancy and good average health outcomes disguised unacceptable differences between population groups and communities, particularly in rural Australia : See Full Response press release from Minister below

After four action-packed days, the 14th National Rural Health Conference with its theme of ‘A World of Rural Health’, has concluded with the delivery of the priority recommendations to emerge from the event to Assistant Minister for Health, David Gillespie.

According to CEO of the NRHA, David Butt, “the Conference provided an excellent opportunity for learning and sharing the evidence of what works in rural and remote health.

“People who live and work in rural and remote Australia have the knowledge about what works and what needs to change to improve health and wellbeing.

“Very importantly, through the conference they have identified key recommendations for health systems reform, to improve the health and wellbeing of the seven million people who live in rural and remote Australia,” Mr Butt said.

Download a PDF Copy of all recommendations

Recommendations14NRHC

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Digital Health

Workforce

AUSTRALIA LEADS IN INNOVATION FOR RURAL HEALTH

Press Release

The Coalition Government’s innovative reforms to improve the health of rural, regional and remote communities were today showcased to the 14th World Rural Health Conference.

In his opening address to the conference in Cairns, Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, outlined a series of major changes to improve rural health which will start or bed down over the coming year.

These included:

  •  legislation to establish the first independent National Rural Health Commissioner;
  •  pathways to recognise rural GPs as “Rural Generalists”;
  •  Primary Health Networks across Australia commission health services to ensure that local health needs are met;
  •  federally funded mental health services including suicide prevention and drug and alcohol rehabilitation now managed at the regional level by PHNs;
  •  200 general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services will soon start providing Health Care Home services, to coordinate care for people with chronic conditions.

Minister Gillespie said Australia’s long life expectancy and good average health outcomes disguised unacceptable differences between population groups and communities, particularly in rural Australia.

Rural and regional Australians have higher rates of major diseases including heart disease and stroke, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.

“We also have a persistent and disturbingly large gap in health outcomes and life expectancy, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” he said.

Minister Gillespie also represented the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, at the National Rural Health Alliance Conference held as part of the World of Rural Health event.

“I know that it takes determination, resilience and flexibility to provide the care that your patients need, without the resources available to your counterparts in the cities,” Minister Gillespie said.

“The Prime Minister shares my passion – your passion – for rural Australia.

“Like you, and me, he believes that Australians have a right to high quality, affordable and accessible health care, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

“Meeting the needs of rural families and communities is one of the top priorities in the long term national health plan.”

Smile: $11m reduces gap in rural and remote dental services

Press Release 2

People living and working in rural and remote Australia will now have access to dental services that were previously unavailable.

Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, said today that the Coalition Government is providing $11 million to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to provide dental services.

“The Royal Flying Doctor Service is well-placed to provide these essential mobile outreach dental services in rural and remote Australia,” Minister Gillespie said.

“Where there is an identified market failure and there are gaps in services, it is important that the Government steps in to provide assistance. Today we deliver on our election commitment to ensure people outside our major cities have better access to high quality dental services.”

The Government provides funding to the RFDS under the RFDS Program, which aims to ensure access to essential emergency aeromedical and other primary health care services in rural and remote areas of Australia.

“The Flying Doctor welcomes this new funding for dental services in rural and remote Australia,” RFDS of Australia CEO, Martin Laverty, said.

“There are only one third the dentists in remote areas, with 72 dentists per 100,000 people in major cities, and less than 23 per 100,000 people in remote areas.”

“The research statistics are compelling, with more than one-third of remote area residents living with untreated decay. Essentially, when people from remote areas visit the dentist, they are more likely to require acute intervention – 1 in 3 had a tooth extraction in a year, compared with less than 1 in 10 in metropolitan areas.”

“This funding from the Federal Government will enable the Flying Doctor to expand its dental outreach program to start tackling the disparity that exists between city and the bush – and for that we are very, very thankful”.

On 28 June 2016, the Government announced it would continue to support the RFDS by extending its contract for continued delivery of aeromedical services until 30 June 2020.

The announcement included a commitment of an additional $11 million over two years for the RFDS to expand its existing non-Commonwealth funded dental services for the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019.

Labor Party Response

Labor supports the development of a national rural health strategy and associated implementation plan, as part of ensuring there is clear and targeted action towards closing the gap in health outcomes between Australians living in rural areas and their metropolitan peers. 

Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King announced Labor’s support for a strategy at the National Rural Health Conference in Cairns, calling on the Government to join in bipartisan support.

“The impact of inequity on health and recognising the challenges that some groups face which require more targeted support – including rural and remote Australians – was a clear theme to emerge from Labor’s National Health Summit in March,” Ms King said

“We think that a national rural health strategy is an important step to ensuring we have a defined roadmap to improving health outcomes for Australians living outside our big cities and I hope the Government follows our lead.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Medicare, Tony Zappia, said while Labor welcomes the implementation of the National Rural Health Commissioner, this single role will not be a cure-all.

“The National Rural Health Commissioner would aid in the implementation of a national rural health strategy, but we still need to have an understanding of where we are going, and what we are trying to achieve in rural heath,” Mr Zappia said.

“A national rural health strategy would help achieve this goal of all levels of Government working more closely together, to reduce fragmentation and duplication.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : #MyHealthRecord slammed in privacy uproar

 ” THE private health records of Australians can be accessed by more than half a million people under the latest bungle with the $2.2 billion electronic My Health Record.

News Corp Australia has learned that the privacy settings on the government’s computerised My Health Record, which lists every medicine a patient takes and records every medical visit and procedure, are automatically set on “universal access”.

From the Daily Telegraph 11 April (see Article 1 Below )

For an extensive NACCHO background brief on Mr Health Records

NACCHO Aboriginal Health ” Opt out ” My Health Records News : Why aren’t more people using the My Health Record

 ” The Australian government has found itself embroiled in a privacy furore, this time for the privacy settings on its MyHealthRecord e-health system.

At issue is the system’s default privacy setting, which is that any health professional treating an individual can access their whole health history.”

MyHealthRecord slammed in privacy uproar : National Media Coverage 11 April

It was ‘absolutely essential to the success of the My Health Record that patients had confidence in the privacy of their information.

It needs to be there for their treating doctor not for everyone else to view,

It should be treated the same as a patient’s paper health record, no one shows that record to their physiotherapist or a mum at work who happens to be a nurse “

Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gannon

“Most people are comfortable with the level of access health professionals have to their information.

Broad access to information is part of the design of MyHealthRecord: “it helps overcome the fragmentation of health information … to reduce adverse events and duplicate treatments. This is of particular importance to people who have complex or chronic conditions,

Registered users can’t trawl health data at random: A healthcare provider can’t just provide a name: they need a health identifier number for that person, together with other personal information, to get their records.

He also noted the criminal sanctions that apply to misuse of MyHealthRecord data.”

Speaking to ABC Radio Sydney this morning, Department of Health Secretary Paul Madden said only a tiny number of people have added any access controls to their documents.

 ” The revelation that hundreds of thousands of health practitioners will be given open access to sensitive health data is extremely concerning.

Reports today say that electronic health records will be automatically set to “universal access” under the Turnbull Government’s opt-out scheme, meaning health practitioners will automatically have access to an individual’s full medical history – whether it is relevant to the treatment they are administering or not.”

This means that a dentist or optometrist could know if someone has had an abortion, or their history of mental illness, even if a person has not disclosed it to them.

Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, said that this was a concerning development and the Government needed to explain how they would address this.(see full press release below Article 2)

We certainly are encouraging that people look carefully at that because, in a matter of weeks, everyone will have an electronic health record, and any amount of information could be being placed there unaware. And so it’s about ensuring that you know that it exists, you know how to activate your privacy settings, and the access that you desire or wish to be sure of.

But it’s also about getting out that message that there’s still a lot of work to be done, and there’s a lot of curating of the medical information as an important concept between patient and doctor, and there’s got to be someone at the end of the day who is taking clinical charge of the curation of that information

Transcript: AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone, Mornings with Ali Clarke, ABC Radio Adelaide, Tuesday 11 April 2017 (article 3 below )

Article 1 : Optometrists and dentists will know if you’ve had an abortion or mental illness in health record bungle

THE private health records of Australians can be accessed by more than half a million people under the latest bungle with the $2.2 billion electronic My Health Record.

News Corp Australia has learned that the privacy settings on the government’s computerised My Health Record, which lists every medicine a patient takes and records every medical visit and procedure, are automatically set on “universal access”.

This means every registered health practitioner in the nation — 650,000 people — can view them, not just the family GP, unless the patient specifically requested to opt out.

Occupational therapists working for an employer, doctors working for insurance companies, a dietitian, an optometrist or a dentist or their staff can view the record and see if individuals have a sexually transmitted disease, a mental illness, have had an abortion or is using Viagra.

“Potentially your employer’s occupational therapist can look at your record and get information they really shouldn’t be getting access to, its confidential data,” says former AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal who was a government consultant on the My Health Record.

The bungle came about because the record was originally set up as an opt in system and when people set up their record they were given the option to set a PIN number to protect the information and determine who got to see it.

Nearly four million people set up a My Health Record under the opt in system but doctors weren’t using it because four years after it was established 83 per cent of Australians still did not have one.

Last year the Turnbull Government trialled turning the failed record into an opt out system.

One million people in the Nepean Blue Mountains area of NSW and Northern Queensland were given a record unless they opted out.

News Corp has now learned only 147 of these one million Australians automatically given a record under the trial set up a PIN number to protect their health information.

“147 My Health Records created in the trials have access controls set to restrict which healthcare providers can see the record, or have controls restricting access to certain documents in the record,” the Department said.

“This equates to 0.0151 per cent of My Health Records automatically created in the trials. This is consistent with the rates of access controls set by those who have opted to register for a My Health Record,” a spokeswoman for the department said.

The My Health Record lists a person’s medications and allergies, doctors can upload a health summary about the person’s health problems, eventually the system will include X-ray results, pathology results, hospital discharge summaries and other data that for the first time can be shared between medical practitioners.

The privacy problem is about to affect everyone because two weeks ago state and federal health ministers agreed to give every Australian a My Health Record unless they opt out.

This decision was made even though the results of the original opt out trial have never been made public.

And it means the health records of every Australian will soon be on open access.

“With only 147 people out of a million setting up privacy settings, you’ve got to ask is that an informed choice to do that?” says Consumers Health Forum Chief Leanne Wells.

“It’s insufficient to write people a letter and give them a pamphlet.”

The Department of Health says “intensive communication activity” was undertaken to educate trial participants, including letters, GP information, local advertising and town hall sessions.

“People have full control over what information is on their record and who can access it,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Health said.

“This includes pin code access to all or certain healthcare providers, removing or limiting access to certain documents and asking providers not to upload information and SMS notifications of who has accessed your record, all of which must be adhered to under the My Health Records Act 2012,” she said.

The My Health record has cost taxpayers $2.2 billion but five years after it was set up doctors and hospital aren’t using it, its way behind schedule.

X-ray, pathology and other test results are not yet available on the record as promised.

$1 BILLION E-HEALTH RECORD NO DOCTORS USE

The e-health record has been plagued by a litany of troubles since its inception.

* When it was launched in July 2012 it was an empty vessel. No doctor or hospital was able to use it and no X-rays or pathology results could be attached to it.

*In 2016 the government sent letters to dead people telling them they were going to set up a My Health Record for them.

* In 2013 technology journalist Kate McDonald discovered that two prescriptions had been added to her e-health record “for drugs that had never been prescribed for me, and were for medical conditions I do not have”.

* A year after it was launched the government was rocked by the resignation in frustration of the two doctors advising it on the record because it was barely functioning.

* Former AMA president Dr Haikerwal revealed the computer system of his multi-doctor practice crashed when he tried to upload patient records on to the e-health record.

And even then he reported that “no one can read it”. Patients who want a hospital or specialist to see their e-health record have to take their own iPad to the consultation because hospitals and specialists don’t have the software to read it.

* When the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner assessed privacy risks to patient information held by seven GP practices in Victoria and NSW it found the clinics were at medium to high risk of breaching privacy laws when using the MyHeath Record.

Passwords were too weak or not changed often enough and, in some cases, a record of the master copy was kept at the clinic, Computers did not have self-locking screen savers turned on.

* The National E- Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) in charge of the record revealed in 2012 it had spent over $5 million on travel and entertaining stakeholders in five star hotels.

This included one event at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel where guests were offered steak and seafood and crème brulee. A former policeman was the motivational speaker at the dinner and entertained guests with grisly details about murders while they were eating dessert.

* NEHTA had to cancel a planned roadshow to Malaysia to promote the e-health system at a surgeons’ conference because of the “tight fiscal environment’’.

Article 2 Catherine King Press Release continued

“Given the Turnbull Government’s appalling IT record, Australians have every right to be worried about their rollout of this project,” Ms King said.

“Last year, one billion lines of Medicare data with private claims information were freely available for download in a massive data breach on the Government’s watch.

“They need to tell Australians what is happening, or they risk people losing confidence in the system before it even gets off the ground.”

When Labor originally set up the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record it was an opt-in system, with users setting up access preferences and controls. Now that the system has moved to opt-out, it seems that the Turnbull Government has not set up the same automatic safeguards.

“The information in these records is too important to be another addition to the Government’s list of health bungles. Australians deserve to know how their information will be protected.”

Article 3 Full Transcript: AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone, Mornings with Ali Clarke, ABC Radio Adelaide, Tuesday 11 April 2017

Subjects: My Health Record


ALI CLARKE:  I’d love to know your experiences of it, because it seems that reports today suggest that your private health records now may be accessed by over half a million people. To find out what has happened, I’d like to say good morning to Tony Bartone, the Vice President of the Australian Medical Association. Good morning, Tony.

TONY BARTONE: Good morning.

ALI CLARKE: Why was My Health set up in the first place?

TONY BARTONE: My Health, the My Health Record, was set up and has been part of an ongoing process for almost the best part of a decade now, to get a robust, functioning, electronic medical health record into the public space to assist clinicians in terms of managing all the information and all the data that is available about patients from very many sources in the health system at a central repository, and to assist in the timely and efficient management of the patient’s condition.

ALI CLARKE: So that sounds like a great idea, but there’s been a lot of trouble trying to get an uptake of this.

TONY BARTONE: Essentially that’s correct. What’s happened is that during the process, perhaps ambition, perhaps goodwill or good intent, has led to many different iterations and different avenues being explored, and features. And clearly, still in 2017, we’ve had a number of stumbles along the way.

But we are getting so much closer to what is essentially going to be a revolutionary change in the way doctors can access information and clinical data, and share that clinical data with other people who are managing that patient.

ALI CLARKE: Well, you’re saying we’re getting so much closer. How many people would be on My Health Record now, do you know?

TONY BARTONE: I can’t exactly confirm, but I know the number of people who have got a record is certainly into the many millions now, and that’s been a process that’s been supported virtually over the last 12 months in particular. We’ve had these two trial sites that are referenced in the article where, in those sites, in those regions they are – all the people, roughly about a million people there have been given a record, so essentially, they’ve had to opt out …

ALI CLARKE: [Interrupts] Out of it.

TONY BARTONE: They’ve all been given a record. But around the country, other people can have the opportunity to voluntarily enrol and become part of that. There’ve been incentives to doctors to try and involve patients, but it’s really, at the moment, it’s the lack of robust data and the ability to share that data in a timely manner that is really the difficulty.

For example, many hospital networks around the country still can’t access or share that information into the Health Record because of their own issues with electronic software and hardware in their own facilities. So it really is still looking at only part of the information. It’s almost having one hand tied behind your back, you might say.

And until we’ve got all medical providers and establishments on the same ability to communicate with the same system, we’re still going to be not in a perfect world, and that’s where a lot of the issues remain.

It’s about giving everybody the ability to interact with the system. It’s getting everybody trained and understanding what’s required, and it’s getting also the sharing of information on protocols that are interchangeable and exchangeable between the various providers, and that’s where we’re probably still got a bit of work to do.

It means time, it means more resources. But essentially, it’s positive steps, but it’s still a lot more to do.

ALI CLARKE: So we say more resources. This is a $2.2 billion electronic record. If you have just tuned in to ABC Radio Adelaide, we’re talking about the electronic My Health Record. Tony Bartone is the Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, and he’s with us at the moment.

Now Tony, with regards to that information sharing that you just touched on, that seems to be the main issue of contention at the moment, because reports are around that because of the change of the way that people started this service – originally, you had to opt out, but now they’re setting up in a couple of trial sites, one in the Nepean/Blue Mountains in New South Wales, and the other in Northern Queensland, you could actually – you had to get out of it.

So you chose originally if you wanted to opt in, but now they’re going ‘well, not enough people are on to this record, so we’re going to put you on automatically unless you opt out’. But this has meant, it seems, that private health records now may be accessed by over half a million people. Can you please explain who those people are?

TONY BARTONE: These half a million people, 600-odd thousand, are essentially all health professionals, registered health professionals in the country, and essentially the system’s been set at a universal access setting level, because that was the default position beforehand.

Now clearly the people, once they’re notified that they have a record, they have been given some communication and some brochures to inform them that they can vary that privacy level. But with only 147 or so people having activated that, it means either the message is not getting through or people aren’t aware of the sensitivity and the actual availability of their records.

It’s an opportune time to reflect on the messaging so far, and to reflect upon the time and the information and the education from a patient’s point of view, from a consumer’s point of view, in terms of being aware of what’s out there and what can be on there and who can access it.

ALI CLARKE: So from my understanding, it means that doctors working for insurance companies, or dentists, or optometrists, can access this information.

TONY BARTONE: Essentially, any registered health professional can.

[Talkback callers ring in]

ALI CLARKE: Tony Bartone, I’ll go back to you on that, then. Are you still encouraging people, in your role as Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, to be a part of this?

TONY BARTONE: We certainly are encouraging that people look carefully at that because, in a matter of weeks, everyone will have an electronic health record, and any amount of information could be being placed there unaware. And so it’s about ensuring that you know that it exists, you know how to activate your privacy settings, and the access that you desire or wish to be sure of.

But it’s also about getting out that message that there’s still a lot of work to be done, and there’s a lot of curating of the medical information as an important concept between patient and doctor, and there’s got to be someone at the end of the day who is taking clinical charge of the curation of that information. And that’s a time-critical and also laborious process.

As [talkback caller] Dr Danny was saying, it depends on the amount of information, the quality of the medical information, but also – if you can imagine multiple different sources placing information into your electronic health record from different sites – that the timeliness and the synchronicity needs to be looked at. And as I say, the curation of that file is critical, and that’s what we’re talking about. More resources, both in terms of patient and consumer information and education.

But also in terms of time to spend with your nominated curator, medical curator – most often your GP, who’s obviously got the best concept of longitudinal care and idea of your past medical records – to take the time to curate that file into a really robust, valuable document to allow the portability that Dr Danny was talking about, to allow the break glass safety features that Dr Danny was talking about, that would be in terms of an emergency department miles away when you’re on holiday. It’s about the access to the appropriate information at the appropriate time to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.

ALI CLARKE: Well, thank you very much. Dr Tony Bartone, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association.