Pharmacy has the greatest opportunity to benefit from this system, say Shane Jackson and Vicki Ibrahim from the Australian Digital Health Agency

APP presenters Mr Jackson and Ms Ibrahim have urged pharmacists to sign up to access and upload information via My Health Record.

“The Australian healthcare system is complex and we know its complexity is predicted to rise due to an ageing population and the burden of chronic illnesses,” says Ms Ibrahim.

She says consumers want to be active participants in their health.

“The intent of My Health Record is to provide additional sources for clinicians and better care for patients. It’s especially important for patients who access multiple doctors and multiple pharmacists.”

While the system is gaining ground, there is still a need for pharmacies to sign up.

Currently there are 4.6 million consumers registered with a My Health Record, and within just one week 13,000 discharge summaries were uploaded to the system.

In NSW alone, almost 500,000 electronic medical records are opened every single day, according to Jonathan Di Michiel from eHealth NSW.

But while nearly 6,000 general practices are registered with the system, about 1,200 retail pharmacies are signed up – out of 5,587 community pharmacies across Australia.

My Health Record provides enhanced decision support, clinical documentation, medicines administration and more, Mr Di Michiel told delegates of this year’s eMedication Management Conference held in Sydney.

“It’s the importance of gathering health information that will differentiate our health system into the future,” he says.

Using the system is seamless, explains Mr Jackson, who is a former Tasmanian branch president for the PSA and now a branch committee member.

“If I’m in the pharmacy dispensing and somebody’s got a My Health Record, when I put in a prescription it automatically comes up with the record. It’s seamless,” he says.

“You can easily search within the system, it’s not an onerous task whatsoever.”

Information accessible through My Health Record includes:

  • Prescription and dispensing information
  • Hospital discharge summaries
  • GP health summaries
  • Consumer entered information
  • Shared summaries with other healthcare providers

“Pharmacy, in my view, has the greatest opportunity out of any of the healthcare groups to benefit from this system, because we ordinarily don’t have access to the information that is in My Health Record,” says Mr Jackson.

Accessing verified information through the My Health Record will allow pharmacists to deliver more efficient healthcare, he says.

“It will allow us to deliver more effective and efficient care, and that’s what this is about. If we want to do this… we need to access information so we can tailor it to suit patients.”

Steps to using My Health Record:

  1. Register your pharmacy for access. If you want to use it through your clinical software, currently will need to be using either Fred or Aquarius software to access the system. They can modify the software to ensure your access. However all clinical software vendors have been provided with a partnership offer to access My Health Record.
  2. Link up the health professionals within your organisation. The pharmacists who are working within your pharmacy need to be added to the organisation certificate you will receive.
  3. Access patients’ My Health Record. You will need their first name and last name, gender, Medicare number, date of birth. And with those identifiers you can search their individual healthcare identifier and then access their My Health Record.
  4. Record dispensing information.

Pharmacists can and should add their own dispensing information to patients’ My Health Records, and in doing so will help to create a wider picture of a patient’s healthcare profile, says Mr Jackson.

“At the moment we only have about 200 pharmacies adding dispensing information, which is really valuable information for other healthcare professionals,” he says.

Mr Jackson emphasises that platforms such as MedView are not in competition with My Health Record, and the two are not mutually exclusive.

“My Health Record is a facilitator for programs like MedView – it can take information from such programs and present it in a readable way,” he says.