Catholic Health Australia supports My Health Record but confidence is critical

“…it’s time for healthcare to move on from fax machines”

Catholic Health Australia CEO Suzanne Greenwood is urging Australians to rationally consider the transformative benefits of the My Health Record to patient treatment, particularly in complex aged care.

She said while CHA strongly endorses the implementation of My Health Record for the positive outcomes for patients and their families, in equal measure demands continued investment in robust security protections and a commitment to privacy and patient autonomy.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance today that privacy protection and security risks will be addressed.

“People need to feel as safe as they do with online banking, which also holds sensitive and valuable personal assets and information and is now commonplace, but was initially received with serious trepidation and distrust.”

She said it is time for the healthcare sector to move on from fax machines.

“It could be difficult for many outside of the health industry to fathom that the healthcare system relies heavily on fax machines to share patient information from doctor to doctor, or doctor to hospital, an insecure and protracted process.

“The typical problems that patients and their families experience through medication error, pathology duplication, and lack of data access should be greatly alleviated for those participating in the My Health Record system.”

Ms Greenwood said she would strongly encourage individuals to set access controls themselves and actively engage with their medical information and the opportunities the system provides.

CHA, the largest single grouping of non-government health, aged and community care services in Australia, is working with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to provide information about the My Health Record Expansion Program and its benefits to members, clients, carers and families.

“Some in our sector estimate up to 25 per cent efficiency gains through reduced duplication of pathology tests, better coordinated care, and treatment decisions, particularly in aged care where older Australians are more likely to suffer from complex co-morbidities,” Ms Greenwood said.

By the end of 2018, the Agency will have a digitised My Health Record for all Australians except those who choose to opt out. Doctors, pharmacists and authorised healthcare providers will be able to access a person’s My Health Record to assist in their treatment of patients and issues such as prescription of medicines and advance care planning.

People who choose not to have a My Health Record will be able to register their choice to opt-out until 15 October.

ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said that the benefits of digital health for patients are significant and compelling.

“Having a My Health Record means that your important health information such as allergies, current conditions and treatments, medicine details, and pathology and diagnostic imaging reports can be digitally stored in one place.

“My Health Record also places Australians in control of their healthcare and gives authorised healthcare providers secure digital access to key health information at the point of care, wherever that may be,” Mr Kelsey said.

For further information on My Health Record go to www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or call the My Health Record Help Line on 1800 723 471.

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