Why Pharmacies Can’t Afford Not to Get On Board with My Health Record

By Sheshtyn Paola At the recent APP conference on the Gold Coast, presenters Shane Jackson and Vicki Ibrahim from the Australian Digital Health Agency urged pharmacists to sign up to access and upload information via My Health Record. pharmacist“The Australian healthcare system is complex and we know its complexity is predicted to rise due to an ageing population and the burden of chronic illnesses,” said Ms Ibrahim. She said consumers want to be active participants in their health. “The intent of My Health Record is to provide additional sources for clinicians and better care for patients. It’s especially important for patients who access multiple doctors and multiple pharmacists.” While the system is gaining ground, there is still a need for pharmacies to sign up. Currently there are 4.6 million consumers registered with a My Health Record, and within just one week 13,000 discharge summaries were uploaded to the system. In NSW alone, almost 500,000 electronic medical records are opened every single day, according to Jonathan Di Michiel from eHealth NSW. But while nearly 6,000 general practices are registered with the system, about 1,200 retail pharmacies are signed up – out of 5,587 community pharmacies across Australia. My Health Record provides enhanced decision support, clinical documentation, medicines administration and more, Mr Di Michiel told delegates at this year’s eMedication Management Conference held in Sydney. “It’s the importance of gathering health information that will differentiate our health system into the future,” he says. Using the system is seamless, explains Mr Jackson, who is a former Tasmanian branch president for the PSA and now a branch committee member. “If I’m in the pharmacy dispensing and somebody’s got a My Health Record, when I put in a prescription it automatically comes up with the record. It’s seamless,” he says. “You can easily search within the system, it’s not an onerous task whatsoever.” Information accessible through My Health Record includes:
  • Prescription and dispensing information
  • Hospital discharge summaries
  • GP health summaries
  • Consumer entered information
  • Shared summaries with other healthcare providers
“Pharmacy, in my view, has the greatest opportunity out of any of the healthcare groups to benefit from this system, because we ordinarily don’t have access to the information that is in My Health Record,” said Mr Jackson. Accessing verified information through the My Health Record will allow pharmacists to deliver more efficient healthcare, he says. “It will allow us to deliver more effective and efficient care, and that’s what this is about. If we want to do this…we need to access information so we can tailor it to suit patients.” Steps to using My Health Record:
  1. Register your pharmacy for access. If you want to use it through your clinical software, currently you will need to be using either Fred or Aquarius software to access the system. They can modify the software to ensure your access. However all clinical software vendors have been provided with a partnership offer to access My Health Record.
  2. Link up the health professionals within your organisation. The pharmacists working within your pharmacy need to be added to the organisation certificate you will receive.
  3. Access patients’ My Health Record. You will need their first name and last name, gender, Medicare number, date of birth. And with those identifiers you can search their individual healthcare identifier and then access their My Health Record.
  4. Record dispensing information.
Pharmacists can and should add their own dispensing information to patients’ My Health Records, and in doing so will help to create a wider picture of a patient’s healthcare profile, said Mr Jackson. “At the moment we only have about 200 pharmacies adding dispensing information, which is really valuable information for other healthcare professionals,” he said. Mr Jackson emphasised that platforms such as MedView are not in competition with My Health Record, and the two are not mutually exclusive. “My Health Record is a facilitator for programs like MedView – it can take information from such programs and present it in a readable way,” he says. Reprinted with kind permission from AJP.

Would you like to speak with the Digital Health Manager at NCPHN about My Health Record and how it can benefit your pharmacy? Enter your contact details below and we will be in touch.

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Aged Care Disaster Management Planning

Strategic Priority Area: One team

North Coast is identified as the region most likely to be impacted by climate change in Australia and also forecasted greatest growth in those 65+.

Healthy North Coast takes a lead role in ensuring the older population and the sector that supports them are prepared for, can respond to and recover from disasters and other emergencies.

We have led eight regional disaster management capacity building workshops, bringing together SES, community organisations and the aged care sector.

We have also developed disaster preparedness tip sheets for both residential and community aged care providers.

Voluntary Assisted Dying

Strategic Priority Area: One team

In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022. Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying. 

Healthy North Coast has developed a webpage for both health professionals and consumers, with links to available information and resources.

Living with Dementia resources

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

Healthy North Coast has worked with people living with dementia, their families and local service providers to develop an information booklet that will help them connect with local and national supports along their journey.

The booklet includes commonly asked questions for people to ask their GP and/or specialist.

The resource is available in digital and printed copies, with more than 5,000 distributed across the region. An e-version is available to clinicians via the Dementia and Cognitive Impairment HealthPathway.

Deteriorating Resident Triage Tool Pilot

Strategic Priority Area: One team

The Deteriorating Resident Response Tool (DRRT) has been developed to guide RN’s in Residential Aged Care homes (RACHs) to better understand, anticipate and make clinical decisions responding to the deteriorating health of residents.

The objective of the DRRT is to give RACH staff clear information to triage and provide appropriate care for a range of residents’ health conditions, and, in turn, prevent unnecessary presentations to ED.

The tool has been designed together with a specialist geriatrician, consulting with stakeholders such as Residential Aged Care Managers, NSW Ambulance, GPs, and experts from Mid and North Coast LHDs.

The pilot commences in March with four participating RACHs. Evaluation measures will include effectiveness in building RN confidence and reported reduction in unnecessary hospitalisations. Findings will inform a future planned, region-wide implementation.

North Coast Care Finders Program

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

The Care Finders program is a free region-wide service to support vulnerable older people who have no-one else to help them, to learn about, apply for and set up support services.

Care finders can help people understand what aged care services are available, set up an assessment, and find and choose services. They also help people with access to other supports in the community, both accessing services for the first time and changing or finding new services and supports.

On the North Coast, Healthy North Coast has commissioned four organisations to provide this important service: EACH, Carexcell, Lifetime Connect and Footprints.

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Psychological services in residential aged care homes

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Healthy North Coast commissions two service providers to deliver psychological therapies and supports for older people with, or at risk of developing, a mental illness and who are living in residential aged care homes (RACHs).

The aim of the program is to both provide direct support to residents and their families and carers, as well as upskill the RACH workforce to respond to the needs of residents presenting with mental health concerns.

Social prescribing (Healthy Me Healthy Community)

Strategic Priority Area: Securing a Healthier Future

Delivered by Feros Care, the Healthy Me, Healthy Community program aims to build individual and community connections to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing in Port Macquarie.

The program helps people to connect with community, activities, supports and services that address their broader social determinants of health, as an alternative or supplement to a clinical approach.

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Digital Health in Residential Aged Care

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Timely access to primary health care professionals, whether through face-to-face consultation or telehealth, is recognised as an issue for many Residential Aged Care Homes (RACHs), that in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations. RACHs require adequate telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

Project goals

  • Assist participating RACHs to have appropriate telehealth facilities and equipment to enable their residents to virtually consult when needed with their primary health care professionals, specialists and other clinicians. 
  • Provide training to participating RACH staff to support them to have the capabilities to assist their residents in accessing virtual consultation services.
  • Encourage increased use of My Health Record by RACHs, to improve the availability and secure transfer of resident’s health care information between RACHs, primary care and acute care settings.
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Greater Choice at Home Palliative Care Program

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Aims to provide people who have life limiting conditions the opportunity to exercise choice and receive high quality care at home, harnessing improved and better coordinated supports and services that meet their individual needs.

Program objectives:

  • Improve access to palliative care at home and support end-of-life care systems and services (in primary health care and community care)
  • To enable the right care at the right time and in the right place (to reduce unnecessary hospitalisation)
  • Generate and use data to support continuous improvement of services across sectors
  • Use available technologies to support flexible and responsive palliative care at home, including in the after-hours.

These objectives will contribute to achieving the following intended overarching outcomes of:

  • Improved capacity and responsiveness of services to meet local needs and priorities
  • Improved patient access to quality palliative care services in the home
  • Improved coordination of care for patients across health care providers and integration of palliative care services in their region.

Education & training funding elibility

Funding is open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.

Workforce Locum support and R&R funding criteria

  • Available to primary care services in disaster impacted communities within the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Available to support short-term workforce coverage, allowing clinicians to rest and recover.
  • Workforce-support funding in total is capped for each site, over a 12-month period:
    • $10k for GPs and/or
    • $5K for nursing and/or
    • $5k administration support and/or
    • $5K allied/pharmacy and other.
  • Funding is not to be used to fill gaps in staffing that have not been able to recruit to and not to replace existing staff.
  • Healthy North Coast will assess requirements and approve available funding directly with the service requesting support.
  • Priority will be given to sites that have immediate, short-term workforce support needs.
  • Requests will be reviewed and supported on a case-by-case basis.
  • Program funding administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) to be paid monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever comes first).
  • Practices will be required to complete a request for payment form monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever occurs first).

Wellbeing Flexible Funding Criteria & Eligibility

  • Open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Activity must be purposeful, with the aim of increasing the wellbeing of your team.
  • Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with funding allocated based on team size.*
  • Following approval by Healthy North Coast, funding will be administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) upon providing proof of expenses.
  • Funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, or any other goods or services where the vendor cannot quote their Australian Business Number.
  • Planned activities must occur prior to 30th June 2024.
  • Funding will not be available for retrospective activities.
*Team Size
(Total staff and contractors)
Funding Available
Small (1-5)$500-$1500
Medium (6-20)$1500-$4000
Large (>20)$4000-$5000