Healthcare providers use of technology surges in face of COVID-19

New data

released today by the Australian Digital Health Agency shows another big lift in the use of the My Health Record system across pharmacies, GP’s and now public hospitals as Australian healthcare providers accelerate their use of technology during COVID-19.

As pharmacies took advantage of changes made in March to allow medicines to be dispensed based on an electronic prescription, pharmacies registered for the My Health Record also increased from 91% to 97% in May and the viewing and their uploading also increased from 69% to 78%. GPs similarly had a big increase in viewing and uploading from 73% to 82%. The result is that more than 8 million medicine documents have been uploaded by healthcare providers like pharmacists and GPs, increasing the total medicine documents to more than 136 million.

And the May data also shows that more than 90% of Public Hospitals are now using the system with 5.2 million more clinical documents uploaded by hospitals, pathologists or radiologists increasing the total clinical documents to more than 70 million.

It appears that the focus on digital health including telehealth consultations during COVID-19 is helping fast track the adoption of technology and more providers are seeing the My Health Record as a valuable repository of health data as it is accessible to all healthcare providers without the need for fax machines or postal services. There are now 22.77 million My Health Records and more than 19.2 million or 85 per cent of them have data in them.

Agency Interim CEO Bettina McMahon said “It is important not to put your health on hold. With digital health services increasingly meeting the needs of healthcare providers and patients, it is encouraging to see more providers using digital tools and the My Health Record, so that patients can benefit from improved health outcomes.”

“This trend is moving in the right direction but there is so much more we need to do. Now that more healthcare providers have used digital health, and consumers have experienced the convenience, the time is right to embed new ways of providing health services into the healthcare system of the future. People are ready for this.”

Dr Yolande Knight, Senior Medical Officer with the Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation said “We rely on My Health Record to keep us updated on patient pathology, imaging, medication, dispensing and history records.

We find it particularly helpful because a lot of our patients are transient, moving from one practice to another, so it can be difficult to get their comprehensive files. With My Health Record we can see what other doctors have requested and performed, overcoming the delays waiting for records requested from other practices. We can also see what scripts were dispensed. It’s invaluable that PathWest results are automatically available on My Health Record. This helped us a lot with the recent COVID-19 test results, where it was quicker to see the result on the patient’s My Health Record than to join the phone queue to get the result.”

Recent My Health Record announcements include BreastScreen WA becoming the first breast screening service to connect to My Health Record and 15 million Australians now have their immunisation details uploaded to My Health Record.

Key statistics:

  • 22.77 million total My Health Records
  • More than 19.2 million records, or 85 per cent, now have data in them
  • 2.05 billion documents uploaded to My Health Record
  • 70 million clinical documents
  • 136 million medicine documents
  • 1.83 billion Medicare documents
  • 97 per cent of pharmacies registered and 78% using
  • 92 per cent of GPs registered and 82% using
  • 95 per cent of public hospitals registered and 91% using

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