The use of digital technology in health may bring improvements in service quality, efficiency and equity (WHO WPRO, 2018). This creates opportunities for a health system that is seeking to enable individuals, families and communities to maintain and improve their health through timely access to quality services.
Digital information is the bedrock of high-quality healthcare. The benefits for patients are significant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions. Digital health can help save and improve lives.
Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy
My Health Record
Between 16 July 2018 and 31 January 2019, Australians were given the opportunity to choose to have a My Health Record or to opt out if they did not want a record created for them.
My Health Record lets people control their health information securely, in one place. This means a patient’s important health information is available when and where it’s needed, including in an emergency.
Through the My Health Record system, timely information can be accessed such as shared health summaries, event summaries, discharge summaries, prescription and dispense records, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports.
Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has seen service providers and consumers alike embrace the use of telehealth to deliver and receive primary health services.
Since March 2020, new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers. These items have recently been extended to continue until March 2021.
healthdirect Video Call
We are pleased to be supporting a range of primary care service providers who have set up and are using healthdirect’s free Video Call platform to deliver telehealth services to their existing patients.
We can create individual clinic or service accounts for Mid and North Coast general practices, AMSs, mental health care professionals and other allied health care providers who wish to offer video consultations.
Our Digital Health Team will create your logins and support you to start using this great platform. Download healthdirect’s Video Call factsheet here.
Recent changes have been made to Commonwealth legislation to recognise an electronic prescription as a legal form to allow medicine supply. Many primary health service providers have adopted electronic transfer of prescriptions as part of their pandemic response and ahead of the rollout of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s Token Model and Active Script List Models.
We are currently developing information and support materials to assist prescribers and dispensers to ensure they are ePrecribing ready so that we can start using these new models on the North Coast. Information and support will be published shortly via Primary Care Impact.
Secure messaging software offers point-to-point sharing of encrypted clinical data. This enables confidentiality of patient records and improves the quality of information flow. It can also significantly reduce overheads related to printing, faxing, mailing and scanning of referrals.
Secure messaging options:
After Hours GP Helpline 1800 022 222
Outside of Australia’s major cities, access to health services in the after-hours period is difficult. The after hours GP helpline is a safety net health service that can help our communities to access GP advice by phone or video and can provide an alternative to visiting a hospital emergency department.
Local Integrated Care Initiatives
HealthPathways contain information on how to assess, manage and refer in the local context of available services, ensuring faster access for patients.
Our Mid and North Coast HealthPathways website is like a ‘care map’, so that all members of a health care team, whether they work in a hospital or the community, can be on the same page when it comes to looking after a particular person.
HealthPathways is designed to be used at the point of care, primarily for general practitioners but also available to hospital specialists, nurses, allied health and other health professionals.
Discharge summaries enable patients to receive continuity of care after a hospital event and provide the primary health care provider with the information they need to know about the episode of care the patient received while in hospital.
There is a wide range of variations in health facilities around discharge summaries, but the most significant issue is that discharge summaries are often misplaced and do not reach the intended practitioner.
You can help by keeping your service and contact information up to date and complete. Please inform your local health district when you have staff leaving or new staff joining by using the online forms below:
- Northern NSW practices
- Mid North Coast practices
The Mid North Coast Local Health District is also currently supporting a pilot to test the benefits of sending admission and discharge notifications. In most cases, these are in addition to the discharge summary.
Integrated Care Northern NSW
We are proud to work closely with the Northern NSW Local Health District to support a range of integrated care digital health initiatives across our region. More information can be found via our Primary Care Impact pages.
Integrated Care Mid North Coast
We are proud to work closely with the Mid North Coast Local Health District to support a range of integrated care digital health initiatives across our region. More information can be found via our Primary Care Impact pages.