6 June 2018

ADHA reveals MHR information strategy

General Practice MyHealthRecord Technology

The Australian Digital Health Agency will use GP clinics, chemist chains and media advertising to sell the public on electronic health records in the three-month opt-out period starting in July.

ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey has confirmed that the agency would rely largely on the 31 Primary Health Networks to run public information campaigns which will begin from the July 16 launch date.

The campaigns would cover the rights and ability of consumers to opt out of the My Health Record scheme, the benefits of staying in, and the possible use of data by third-party organisations.

“Within the PHN remit, we’ve contracted them to deliver over 1000 events throughout that three-month period, and that will happen right across the country,” Mr Kelsey told a Senate estimates committee.

“In addition to that, information will be made available in over 15,000 healthcare locations, including every GP practice, community pharmacies, and public and private hospitals.”

He said every GP would have received training in the MHR system before the launch.

Aboriginal health services, Australia Post shops and government offices, including correspondence from the Department of Human Services, would be part of the campaign, he said.

The agency chief lifted the veil on the agency’s strategy under questioning by the members of the Community Affairs Committee in Senate estimates last week.

He said $55 million had been allocated for the education, training and support of healthcare providers, bringing the total engagement budget for the opt-out phase to more than $100 million.

The broad campaign would be supplemented by five PHNs tasked with running “targeted media” at regional and local levels, he said.

Advertising would also be placed in publications aimed at doctors and other providers, as well as 20 million copies of magazines issued by Chemist Warehouse and Terry White Chemists.

“Contrary to some of the press reports you will have seen recently, there is going to be paid media for the My Health Record,” Mr Kelsey said.

The paid-media component was allotted $4.8 million out of the whole public communications budget of $27.75 million.

Mr Kelsey said all GPs would have received training in the use of the MHR, preparing them to address patients’ concerns, ahead of the July 16 launch date.

“One of the key prerequisites for the public information service that is being launched on 16 July was a very significant level of mobilisation with the provider community,” he said.

“With our colleagues in the Primary Health Networks, in state and territory governments and in peak bodies – which include the AMA, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Pharmacy Guild, the PSA, rural and remote specialists, GPs and others – we have undertaken a very comprehensive program of education and awareness with Australian providers so that, by the time we go to public communications, all GPs and pharmacists will have been trained in My Health Record.

“That is so that they are able to understand what My Health Record is and make a decision about whether they wish to connect but, crucially, also support and counsel their patients in the event that they are asked about the opt-out opportunity.”