eHealth still a hard path to hoe

Pathology and its place in the public domain was the big topic of discussion this week as things started to heat up in the My Health Record stakes. On Monday we reported that we reported that Canberra Hospital was set to begin uploading pathology and diagnostic imaging reports to the system in May, joining NSW and the NT in contributing data from the public sector.

ACT is doing it slightly differently from the others in that it's using the capabilities of Orion Health's Rhapsody integration engine rather than the HIPS middleware developed a few years back by Adelaide firm Chamonix or the HealtheNet system that NSW uses for a number of clinical purposes.

We heard just this week from one of Chamonix's Adelaide partners that post-operative patients could soon to be able to have some of their data uploaded as an event summary using HIPS and Personify Care's new app Personify Connect. Look out for that story next week.

The ACT story was closely followed by news from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) that an independent skin cancer and surgical pathology lab, InfinityPATH, had beaten some of the big guys to the punch and was now uploading reports from its Brisbane lab.

The agency also held an extremely informative webinar on Tuesday for healthcare providers, in which ADHA's program director for pathology and diagnostic imaging Paul Carroll was absolutely bombarded with questions on all things path and DI.

Mr Carroll passed on the interesting stat that only three out of every thousand pathology requests being generated in a proof of concept trial being run by Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Queensland is being marked 'do not send' to the My Health Record, which we'd be interested in your views on.

What won't be available on the My Health Record though is atomic data, which will be a disappointment to many. The decision to upload the full pathologist's report as a PDF rather than raw data was one taken by pathologists themselves back in 2013, and so it will be that in this day and age, when every second person has a cheap app on their phone that can show HbA1c levels trending over time, it won't be possible to see this data on the newfangled wonder record we are all getting from the government.

The My Health Record is and will remain for the foreseeable future a clinical document repository, so most things that go up have to be tucked up in a CDA wrapper. This isn't widely known so we expect the public to be a little disappointed when they check out their new record some time after September.

We expect the Medical Technology Association of Australia to also be disappointed following its call this week for the government to prioritise consideration of including medical device data in the My Health Record. While we constantly hear about digital disruption and how technology will revolutionise healthcare, those of us who've been in the field a while know full well it is about slow, gradual steps, much to the frustration of many.

Speaking of which, the often delayed National Cancer Screening Register won't be fully functional until June 29, or so we have been informed. Fingers crossed, eh?

The following week will be the sixth anniversary of the My Health Record going live – we'll wait to see with baited breath whether there's anything to celebrate about that. In the meantime, we thought we'd poll our readers on your views: Will the My Health Record be a winner or a fizzer in its seventh year?

Last week, we asked if you thought Western Health and Telstra Health should have revealed their security issues earlier. Our readers overwhelmingly said yes, by a margin of 82 per cent to 18.

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