Flap about MyHR on an app
The most popular story this week on Pulse+IT was our chat with some of the medicines safety team from the Australian Digital Health Agency, who fleshed out the expected structure of the new electronic prescriptions network that should begin in earnest in the new year.
The plan is for a small implementation in one rural area, probably in Tasmania and probably involving Fred IT, before the roll-out gathers pace and eScripts eventually become business as usual. The network will use existing infrastructure such as the two prescription exchange services eRx and MediSecure, but the ADHA team was keen to emphasise that it expects the new capability to attract new entrants into the market, as well as a proliferation of medication-related apps.
We also had a chat to Greg Garrett, a Kiwi pharmacist who developed the Medi-Map electronic medications charting solution that is used in about 65 per cent of aged care facilities in New Zealand and about half of its hospices. Med-Map is also being piloted for controlled drug prescribing by some of the country's addiction services.
Medi-Map has just become the first cloud-based charting solution that has integrated with New Zealand's ePrescription Service (NZePS), which adds extra capabilities for Medi-Map users such as GPs, who can chart and generate a script all at the same time. Previously, they had to separately write the script in their PMS, thus introducing transcription error risks.
The NZePS has seen a surprisingly slow take-up by GPs since its launch, although that might have something to do with the fee they have to pay to use it. As of March this year, it was being used by 160 of NZ's 1000 general practices, about double the number from the previous year. The service is also available to many hospital clinicians through clinical portals.
Speaking of apps, we'll have a story next week on a new personal health record (PHR) app called Snug, developed by Hobart's Healthcare Software in association with Tasmanian not-for-profit health insurer St Luke's. Snug is being offered for free to St Luke's members but the plan is also to release it nationwide. It appears to be a seriously smart piece of technology and the timing may very well be right for PHRs, which have struggled to find a market in Australia so far.
Snug is integrated with a range of personal health devices, has a child development section and allows users to manage their family members' data. It also has authorisation from ADHA for the My Health Record, joining a list of others that can access the system on a phone. Another of those is Healthi from Adelaide's Chamonix, which has just had an upgrade and can now display documents like pathology and diagnostic imaging reports. It also has Face ID and Touch ID capabilities.
However, there still seems to be a bit of confusion about what these apps can and can't do when it comes to the My Health Record. At the moment they can only provide a link through to MyGov and the documents themselves can't be downloaded, limiting the use of the apps and their commercial viability. Pulse+IT is hearing mutterings from quite a few players that ADHA needs to get its mobile strategy sorted soonish or some apps will wither on the vine. Feel free to submit a tip anonymously if you have some complaining to do.
On a different note, Pulse+IT is off to the HiNZ conference in Hamilton next week, where we are looking forward not just to what is always a great conference but to the conference dinner, which is being held at the delightful Hobbiton. We are packing our hairy feet ready to report live from Wednesday.
That brings us to our poll question for this week: Does ADHA have a good mobile strategy for My Health Record?
Last week we asked: Do you think ADHA has made significant progress with its strategy this year? The margin for this result was wafer-thin: 49 per cent said yes, 51 per cent said no.