Pulse+IT Blog

My Health Record meets the auditor

This week the Australian National Audit Office released its much-anticipated report into the effectiveness of the implementation of the My Health Record by the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health.

The audit mainly looked at the implementation over the opt-out period rather than the distant days of the opt-in Pecker (PCEHR), and apart from a few security stumbles, the ANAO gave it a pretty clean bill of health.

NZ heads towards nHIP

Pulse+IT had a whale of a time consorting with assorted hobbits this week at the HiNZ conference in Hamilton, which managed to attract a remarkable 1440 attendees and over 100 exhibitors. No offence to Hamiltonians but its proximity to Hobbiton and the conference venue are two of the main things likely to tempt people to visit the town so it's a good thing that HiNZ is returning there next year.

NZ Health Minister David Clark and Ministry of Health deputy D-G for digital Shayne Hunter showed up and both seemed pretty confident that the business case for a national health infrastructure platform (nHIP) would get up and begin a roll out later in 2020. Mr Hunter confirmed that the idea touted by the previous health minister at HiNZ in 2015 for a single, national electronic health record would not go ahead.

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.

eScripts on the horizon

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 a 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.

Cold bath for MedicalDirector's numbers

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.

My Aged Care and a shocking tale of neglect

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.

Curious case in FNQ

This week kicked off with a curious story first revealed over the weekend by the Cairns Post, which reported that the two far north Queensland hospital and health services had parted ways with the vendor chosen to roll out the electronic medical record part of the proposed Regional eHealth Project (ReHP).

This project has been on the drawing board since 2012, when Queensland Health got lucky in a bid for funding from the Commonwealth Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF), which was one of three infrastructure investment funds set up in the 2008-9 federal budget to the tune of $22.4 billion. The HHF got $5 billion of that to fund capital investment in health facilities, including for medical technology and equipment.

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