MHR helps pharmacist in bushfire zone

Bushfires hit houses on the south coast of NSW. Photo: Mark Naunton/Supplied.

Nearly 13 million My Health Records are now active after 490,000 new records had documents uploaded – in just one month

And the records have proven invaluable to one pharmacist who was helping people in this summer’s disastrous NSW bushfires, says the Australian Digital Health Agency.

The Agency reports that the total number of records which contain information was nearing 13 million by the end of December 2019, up from 12.5 million in November.

Between November and December 2019 there was an 11% increase in the volume of medicine documents uploaded by health care providers including pharmacists and GPs, to more than 100 million documents.

There was also a 13% increase in clinical documents uploaded by health care providers including hospitals, pathologists and radiologists.

In December alone, GPs uploaded nearly 3 million documents and their viewing increased 10%.

The total number of documents in the My Health Record system is now 1.7 billion.

“While it was not expected that all My Health Records would have documents uploaded in the first year as not everyone would see a GP or other connected healthcare provider service in that timeframe, we are now seeing significant increases in uploaded clinical documents and My Health Records with valuable clinical information,” said Professor Meredith Makeham, the Agency’s Chief Medical Officer.

The Agency cited the experience of Paul Smith, a pharmacist at Capital Chemist in Huskisson NSW.

Mr Smith said he was able to dispense medications to both locals, and visitors who had been trapped in town by bushfires.

“In the lead up to New Year’s Eve, Huskisson and surrounding towns in NSW had an unusually large number of travellers and locals seemingly stranded without their prescriptions or regular medications,” Mr Smith said.

“These medications included your run-of-the-mill blood pressure tablets and the like, but there were patients without their insulin, anti-epileptic medications, anti-depressants, preventative asthma inhalers, and numerous others.

“Having access to the My Health Record database certainly helped me a great deal during this unprecedented time, as I was able to ensure a continuity of care in a safe and legal fashion.

“The main hurdle I faced was assisting patients who had chosen to opt out of the My Health Record system.

“It is an extremely bad situation to be in when there were no local surgeries open, the roads to the closest public hospital were closed, and the person had nothing to show you that they are normally prescribed.”

Previous The next generation
Next Run on masks, pharmacists to be on Coronavirus alert

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Anthony Zehetner

    Good use of the MyHealth Record — maybe the government should use this in its advertising?

  2. Emanuele Chessari

    I would like to support the experience of Paul Smith at Huskisson regarding the value of the MHR in crisis situations. When all hell broke loose in the Upper Murray around New Years Eve we had people arriving at the Tallangatta Relief Centre with sometimes only the clothes on their backs. Unfortunately medications were not front and centre in everyones minds when they evacuated and we had situations where people presented with empty webster packs with the headers torn off and others who could describe what their medications looked like and what letter they started with, perfectly natural reactions considering the trauma they had been through. In all cases except one, MHR was ably to help me access the patients medication histories and safely supply emergency supplies of the correct medications. A Godsend indeed. Emanuele Chessari, Locum Pharmacist, Tallangatta

Leave a reply