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.
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.
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.