By St.LukesHealth CEO Paul Lupo
E-health is revolutionising the way the medical sector is doing business.
Traditionally, healthcare providers have worked in clinical silos meaning that when a patient visits their GP, medical specialist or other providers, their treatment notes are only shared within the place they’ve received treatment and are often documented on paper.
These documents are often faxed or mailed between clinics taking time and leaving the health system fragmented, even unsecured. Imagine if the data was available at the click of a button and when you or a health professional needed it.
With digital revolution, our society and healthcare models are changing. For some people, it was once not unusual to go a whole lifetime seeing the same GP you saw as a child. Now, we have GP super clinics where you book into the next available doctor, when it’s convenient for you.
Today, we see our children move away for university study and families divided as family members travel interstate for work. And despite the advancement in our technology, your healthcare and associated records remain disjointed.
For the next two months until October 15, Australians will be given the choice to participate in the Australian Government’s My Health Record.
While we know that some aspects of My Health Record have received some negativity in the press, it is important to consider your approach and examine the benefits of this initiative and how it could assist you and your loved ones before simply declaring ‘I’m opting out’.
The My Health Record has been operating for the past six years and has about 6 million Australians already signed up to the system.
It has received support from all state and territory governments as well as being endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as a “game changer” that will “save lives”.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Australian Medical Association have also supported the merits of what it can do for healthcare in Australia.
My Health Record will provide you with a digital platform that enables you to access your health information when you need it and will allow you to share vital information with other health professionals if, for example you are visiting a new practitioner for the first time or pay an unexpected visit to a hospital emergency department.
In return your circle of care, including medical specialist and allied health providers, will be able to tailor better treatment options for you as they know the overall picture of your health.
They will know what medication you are taking and it will assist clinicians from doubling up on costly or duplicated pathology tests.
We know that people are worried about keeping their personal data private, noting there is already risk in current paper-based systems.
To have a My Health Record, users must be registered with My Gov, which is already extensively used by individuals to do their annual tax returns.
The Australian Government has ensured there are sufficient safeguards in place so that all the information stored is safe, including amendments to legislation, firewalls and monitoring by the Cyber Security Centre.
Whatever choice you decide to make, please consider this – My Health Record will allow you to take ownership of your own health data, and that is a powerful thing.