According to the Australian Digital Health Agency (2019), My Health Record is online access to the individual’s information about health and this service enables every Australian to access their health information in an online format anywhere around the world. The authorized health care professionals from health care organizations can add or view their patient’s records. In Australia, this is a digital health record system which enables the patient to share his/her health information with hospitals, doctors, or other health care professionals. It offers various benefits like ease of access, faster health services, self-management, security, safety, and convenience. MyHealth Record includes medical history, immunization history, information about HIV status, abortion or surgery related information, diagnostic imaging reports, medication prescriptions, healthcare notes, decisions about organ donation, and many others. The following sections discuss the implementations and implications of My Health Record in Australia.
According to Tomlinson (2018), it has been found that My Health Record has failed in maintaining privacy and cybersecurity risks. The Australian National Audit Office declared that this electronic healthcare system is not maintaining the software bugs, privacy, and other security-related things properly like sharing of information with healthcare provider organizations and third-party software vendors. The system has also not conducted an end-to-end privacy risk assessment for ensuring the safety of the users. These lacking factors lead to risks to the privacy, personal life or information, and personal health of the patient. However, the government is continuously working for consumer groups, the technology industry, healthcare professionals and healthcare providers, territory governments, state governments, and commonwealth entities to implement the electronic health care system with greater and effective large scale positive impacts. According to the Australian Digital Health Agency (2016), the implementation has largely resulted in many benefits, as it has aimed to cover every community including the aboriginals or those living in rural and remote areas. So that everyone can get equal access to health care services and the health system of the nation gets better with this approach. The implementation of such electronic systems in health care help in lifting the capability of the health sector, so that the increasing demands of the high number of patients in Australia can be met or fulfilled (Lee et al., 2019). It is found that the rate at which the people in Australia are getting diseased with obesity, cardiovascular issues, or other health problems is increasing at a high rate. This results in more number of patients inside the health care centers which cause poor nurse-patient ratio and complex stressful situations in the health care workplace. However, with the implementation of My Health Report, the patients can get various benefits at their homes or anywhere in the world without visiting the hospital until and unless there is an emergency.
According to Gold et al. (2020), with My Health Report, the management in health care is improved as all the doctors see the same information. This helps in reducing the imaging investigations, duplication of pathology, and reducing medication errors. It is found that 22.6 million Australians have signed up and 1.5 billion documents have been already uploaded on this online platform. This shows that his online platform provides a connected national health system, enhances a clinically safe health system services, innovative approach to utilizing technology in healthcare, delivery of collaborative care services, coordination, and leadership in health care. The government is still working on making this a better managed digital health care services platform. According to Walsh et al. (2017), it is found that the government has invested $1.15 billion for the development of this system from 2012 to 2016, and $374.2 million were also funded for the project in 2017-2018. For the implementation of this system an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system is made for proper risk management and assessments. Moreover, an appropriate communication strategy is also made like postures, brochures, videos, and many others for awarding and explains the people of different communities and age groups about the digital health care system of My Health Report. Before initiating the clinical use of the system, the system was installed, the staff was trained and the patients with their family members were also trained so that they know how to use the digital platform for their health care services. According to Prictor et al. (2018), it was ensured that the patent has registered on the digital platform or not and a detailed brochure regarding My Health Report was also inserted into the patient’s envelopes after their surgeries. The patients are also guided on how to sign up on the platform and there is a unique 16‐digit number that is required by the health care professionals to connect to their patients on My Health Report. The implementation was performed in two stages in 13 weeks. Few issues were system crashing or bugs that were immediately acted upon by the IT team and other associated teams. Furthermore, with the implementation of My Health Report the documents that were updated were as follows: consumer-entered information, Medicare benefits schedule data, pharmacy dispensing records, medicines information, specialist letters, radiology and pathology test results, allergies and key diagnoses, hospital discharge summaries, and many others. According to Lum et al. (2019), with this technology, the people living in remote areas are also connected in a better way to their health care providers. This results in the faster, safer, and effective delivery of care to the patient as well as meeting up with the needs and demands of the family members of the patients. This system ensures that long-term and continued care is delivered. Another advantage of this platform is the data will remain stored online for up to 30 years even after the death of the patient. As the patent can access their records anywhere across the world this helps them to manage their health care. The patient also has the advantage to ask their doctors not to upload their personal information like abortion, HIV status, or other health-related private information. The patients can ask the doctors to decide who can access their profile and who cannot (Carroll et al., 2019). Risk is also found which states that if the record of the patient’s information can help in preventing crimes or protecting public rights then the patient’s information will be disclosed as per the law. In this case, the risk of privacy disclosure and confidentiality may arise.
According to Westbrook et al., (2016), many hospitals face serious issues like unsatisfactory delivery of quality care, ineffective communication between the patients and health care providers, and others due to insufficient facilities or technologies available in health care departments and centers. However, the use of electronic medication systems not only ensures effective communication, but also provides improve patient safety, access to medical records across a wide area, and active or passive decision support. These advanced technologies generate a change in healthcare centers and provide effective delivery of care services to the patients. These modern technologies reduce many errors and provide many benefits as well. According to Hodgkinson et al. (2017), technologies in healthcare should be updated and well equipped. They should be timely checked and monitoring should be done. If the next generation is not trained about the use and importance of electronic health care systems then they will not be able to ensure effective communication and patient safety with updated and modern technologies. Patient satisfaction can be unfulfilled and resulting in the delivery of poor quality care of the patient. However, if the nurses or next-generation health professionals are trained in their institutes and their training hospital sessions then the issue can be resolved.
My Health Record has helped a lot in healthcare systems in Australia and it offers various benefits like ease of access, security, safety, and convenience. Its implementation resulted in many benefits like reduction in medication errors, improved health care services, and many others. Various steps were taken in Australia for the effective implementation of the My Health Record. The steps were taken with the involvement of IT teams, territory governments, state governments, and commonwealth entities to implement the electronic health care system with greater and effective large scale positive impacts. The patients and other users were made aware of the help of audios, videos, postures, brochures, and various other communication strategies. This digital platform has helped in improving patient care to a great extent. However, the system has also not conducted an end-to-end privacy risk assessment for ensuring the safety of the users. This has led to some privacy and confidentiality related issues.
Australian Digital Health Agency. (2016). Media release: The Australian national audit office findings on the implementation of my health record welcomed. Retrieved from:https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/news-and-events/news/media-release-the-australian-national-audit-office-findings-on-the-implementation-of-my-health-record-welcomed
Australian Digital Health Agency. (2019). The Australian national audit office findings on the implementation of my health record were welcomed. Retrieved from: https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/news-and-media/media-releases/australian-national-audit-office-findings-implementation-my-health
Carroll, P., Holmes, C., & Millar, A. (2019). Diagnostic information in my health record. Pathology, 51, S17.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathol.2018.12.034
Gold, H. T., Karia, R. J., Link, A., Lebwohl, R., Zuckerman, J. D., Errico, T. J., & Cantor, M. N. (2020). Implementation and early adaptation of patient-reported outcome measures into an electronic health record: A technical report. Health Informatics Journal, 26(1), 129-140. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1460458218813710
Hodgkinson, M. R., Larmour, I., Lin, S., Stormont, A. J., & Paul, E. (2017). The impact of an integrated electronic medication prescribing and dispensing system on prescribing and dispensing errors: A before and after study. Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 47(2), 110-120. https://doi.org/10.1002/jppr.1243
Lee, J. W., Lim, H. S., Kim, D. W., Shin, S. A., Kim, J., Yoo, B., & Cho, K. H. (2018). The development and implementation of stroke risk prediction model in National Health insurance service's personal health record. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 153, 253-257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmpb.2017.10.007
Lum, H. D., Brungardt, A., Jordan, S. R., Phimphasone-Brady, P., Schilling, L. M., Lin, C. T., &Kutner, J. S. (2019). Design and implementation of patient portal–based advance care planning tools. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 57(1), 112-117.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.10.500
Prictor, M., Hemsley, B., Taylor, M., & McCarthy, S. (2018). If privacy is increasing for my health record data, it should apply to all medical records. The Conversation. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/11343/216365
Tomlinson, J. (2019). My Health Record implementation in private specialist practice. The Medical Journal of Australia, 210(6), S32-S34.https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50030
Walsh, L., Hemsley, B., Allan, M., Adams, N.,Balandin, S., Georgiou, A.,& Hill, S. (2017). The e-health literacy demands of Australia's My Health Record: A heuristic evaluation of usability. Perspectives in Health Information Management, 14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5653954/
Westbrook, J. I., Li, L., Raban, M. Z., Baysari, M. T., Mumford, V., Prgomet, M., &Dalla-Pozza, L. (2016). Stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an electronic medication management system to reduce medication errors, adverse drug events and average length of stay at two paediatric hospitals: A study protocol. BMJ Open, 6(10), e011811.http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011811
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