The federal government has formed a partnership with pharmacists to help drive the take-up of the My Health Record as a clinical tool.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the tie-up with Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, saying the PSA would develop and deliver education, training and information to expand the use of MyHR by the profession.
“This partnership will help PSA to increase the number of pharmacists working in all practice settings registered, able to view, and automatically upload medicines information to My Health Record,” he said,
Last week’s announcement followed news that more pharmacy software vendors have linked their products to the MyHR system, allowing pharmacists to upload dispense records and view discharge summaries, shared health summaries and information on allergies.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said there was significant potential for pharmacists to use digital health records containing verifiable information from other health professionals.
“The benefit to patients is safer and more effective care,” he said, adding access to health summaries would be useful when doing MedsChecks and Home Medication Reviews.
“Pharmacists will be able to understand what’s happened to the patient in hospital, what changes may have been made, and what they need to do to follow up. My Health Record really shines a light on a patient’s health status so you can tailor their care,” Dr Jackson said.
Dr Monica Trujillo, CCIO for the Australian Digital Health Agency, said pharmacists were avid early adopters of electronic records.
“That was one of the big lessons learned from the trials (of My Health Record)” Dr Trujillo told The Medical Republic.
She said the expansion of software connecting pharmacists to MyHR would be a “game changer” and particularly beneficial where pharmacists were dealing with new patients, travellers and patients discharged from hospital.
“It is exciting, that pharmacists can have direct access to patients’ records and can become part of the safety net to assure better clinical care for that patient.”
Emma Hossack, president of the Medical Software Industry Association, said the connectivity project was proof of a “new working relationship” between the industry and the agency.
“It demonstrates what can be achieved in a relatively short time and augurs well for other jointly owned digital health improvements,” she said.
Conformant software was the first step to connect more pharmacists with MyHR, allowing them to contribute dispense records which would be valuable information for other health practitioners, Dr Jackson said.
Dr Trujillo said that with the new vendors coming on board, the agency expected to see a rich build-up of information by around next June.
According to the agency, 5.2 million Australians already have a My Health Record and 12.8 million prescription and dispense records have been uploaded.