How My Health Record Saved Further Pain and Discomfort for a Dental Patient

Drs Graeme Helms and Brendan White have been in practice since 1996. They’ve continued a family dental practice first established in 1935.

Helms and White Dental in Lismore was one of the first dental practices to adopt My Health Record in our region. NCPHN’s My Health Record team has now helped almost 500 health organisations to connect to My Health Record.

NCPHN recently had a chat with Brendan White about an encounter with a patient who came in with a very sore tooth. Brendan was able to treat the patient quickly and confidently after checking their My Health Record.

“We began our investigation and found the patient had a tooth abscess and the tooth would have to be removed,” Brendan said.

In cases like this, dentists will normally check the patient’s medical background and their medications. In particular, whether the patient is taking blood thinning medications and the dosages involved.

“The patient mentioned they have diabetes and had previously had a stroke. They were not sure about medications they were taking and thought they might be on blood thinners,” Brendan explained.

“I couldn’t safely proceed without the patient going away to double check their medications. This would mean they would have to obtain another dental voucher, re-book with us and come back once their medications had been clarified.”

“We didn’t want to send them home like that, so I asked if they had a My Health Record. The patient wasn’t sure if they had a record but they were happy for us to check and to take a look.”

Brendan and his team logged into My Health Record to check the patient’s health information. Ninety per cent of Australians now have a record. As a default, most will have two years of Medicare MBS and PBS data available for review by treating practitioners.

“We were able to quickly clarify that blood thinners had not been prescribed for the patient. So we could safely undertake the procedure right there and then. We were then able to send them home to recuperate rather than continue to suffer with further pain.”

Brendan encourages all dentists to become registered and emphasises that access to the patient’s My Health Record allows safer treatment and a better outcome for the patients overall health.

For more information visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or ask your regular GP to upload a shared health summary for you.