As expected, the roll out of electronic prescriptions in Australia will not be as fast as health minister Greg Hunt was spruiking back in July, but this week we have seen substantive moves towards an national ePrescription system with the federal government gazetting the legality of eScripts alongside paper scripts in federal legislation.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has also published the solution architecture and conformance requirements for prescribing and dispensing software, which it has co-designed with the medical software industry and healthcare provider organisations. It will be another year at least before consumers are using the capability – ADHA told us this week it is targeting June 2022 for a full implementation, as per the national digital health strategy – and there are hopes for a small start early next year in a rural and a metropolitan setting.
The one-word title of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is stark: Neglect. The report is a sobering read for those working in and around the aged care system and details much higher levels of poorly managed continence, malnutrition, overprescribing of psychotropic drugs and actual physical abuse than previously thought. Dental health is bad, wound care is worse, nutrition is abominable.
The report details a litany of problems with the sector, especially workforce problems, but unfortunately a lot of them start when older people and their families first begin to investigate their options for care. Their entry point is My Aged Care, a system that was recommendation of the Productivity Commission's Caring for older Australians inquiry in 2011. The My Aged Care website went live six years ago and the contact centre and client record about four years ago, but according to the commissioners, it is not delivering the vision the Productivity Commission outlined of seamlessly allowing people to navigate the system, and does not seem to be delivering much at all.
We received word at the start of this week that GP software vendor MedicalDirector was about to enter the UK market with its Helix product, having been chosen to be part of the NHS's new GP IT Futures program. MedicalDirector is on a panel with six other PMS vendors, including the four incumbents, and Helix is the only cloud-based product among them.
It's big news for MedicalDirector, which has struggled to sell Helix since its launch in 2017. Helix was expected to be rolled out to all 73 medical centres in former owner Primary Health Care's network but that plan has stalled and Primary, now called Healius, has rolled out MedicalDirector Clinical, the on-premise package that most people still refer to as MedicalDirector 3, in its stead.