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My Health Record aiding diabetes management


Matt Woodley


18/07/2019 4:13:12 PM

The system’s contribution to helping manage the chronic disease has been highlighted as part of National Diabetes Week.

Diabetes blood sugar test.
My Health Record is helping Australians manage their diabetes.

In particular, the ability to share health summaries, specialist reports and test results has been hailed as a major advantage for diabetes patients who regularly need to negotiate multiple areas of the healthcare system as part of their ongoing care.
 
Nearly 16,000 healthcare providers are now connected to My Health Record (MHR), and GP and director of the University of Western Australia (UWA) Medical Centre, Dr Christine Pascott, told newsGP this has allowed for better coordination of care.
 
‘As more health providers are uploading information, I’m finding My Health Record increasingly useful,’ she said.
 
‘Our local hospital is uploading pathology and radiology results and discharge summaries. It is great to have immediate access, rather than spending time sending faxes or waiting on the phone.
 
‘It provides a useful platform for GPs to get updates on the latest tests and healthcare that a person with diabetes has had, so we can provide team-based management of their diabetes.’
 
Dr Pascott also believes legislative changes that came into effect in December 2018 have addressed some early concerns, meaning patients no longer need be concerned about insurance companies accessing records.
 
‘I work with a young adult and older teenage population and they now have confidence that their parents can’t access their records without their consent,’ she explained.
 
‘More doctors also now recognise that their detailed progress notes are not uploaded, it is just a summary of the most important information that is required to support coordinated care for patients.
 
‘For my patients, I feel that it is tremendously helpful to have a record of medications, allergies, medical history and up-to-date results accessible to them and to their healthcare providers.’

However, not everyone has had the same experience.
 
Dr Rob Hosking, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management (REC–PTM), told newsGP MHR is still in its ‘early days’ and progress needs to be made in terms of engaging patients with chronic disease.
 
‘I haven’t yet found a patient [with chronic disease] who has looked at their own MHR,’ he said.
 
‘Most things that people with chronic diseases are looking for haven’t found their way onto MHR yet. It may come that reliable uploading of pathology results and contributions from other treating team members will find their way into MHR but it is still some time away.’

According to Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson, the disease currently accounts for around one third of all hospitalisations, making early detection and sound management especially important. He believes MHR is particularly valuable for the management of complex health conditions such as diabetes.
 
‘It’s easier to manage diabetes if you have all of your health information available and My Health Record helps you do that,’ he said.
 
‘It can have enormous benefits for people with diabetes who may have to visit many different healthcare providers, and get various tests and check-ups. Each healthcare provider involved can see and upload a person’s diabetes information and discuss this with the person at the right time.’
 
It is estimated around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, with as many as 500,000 unaware they have the disease.



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Dr Jane B.   22/07/2019 2:37:23 PM

With about 900,000 points of entry across the health system, how many GPs and specialists have established their own My Health Record?


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