The big news this week was the announcement by the Australian Digital Health Agency that Melbourne Pathology had started uploading pathology reports to the My Health Record. Melbourne Pathology is one of Sonic Healthcare's subsidiaries and this marks another step forward in making valuable clinical information available to patients.
Melbourne Pathology is following in the footsteps of another Sonic subsidiary in Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, which connected to the system last year. And with one of the big three private pathology providers now routinely uploading reports and the majority of state pathology services also doing so, there might actually be a reason for people to take a look at their record. The other big providers, Healius and Australian Clinical Labs, are still to get on board.
As the local health IT industry gears up for next week's HL7 International working group meeting in Sydney, the big news this week has come from the US, where the full details of the massive $US145 million fine levied against practice management system vendor Practice Fusion were revealed.
Practice Fusion, which first developed a PMS in 2008 and spruiked it to small, independent family doctor practices from its headquarters in San Francisco, gained substantial market share when it decided to offer the system for free. It quickly gathered investors and was a successful company, earning its revenue from advertising sales, predominantly from pharmaceutical companies. Practices were able to get an ad-free version by paying $100 a month, but few did.
It was back in June 2018 that eCommerce giant Amazon first signalled it was seriously interested in shaking up the pharmacy market when it bought full service digital pharmacy PillPack for over $US750 million. PillPack specialises in shipping prescription medications directly to patients, managing repeats on their behalf and has also developed an automated system to individually sort and label medications for patients to take by time and date.
PillPack has since run into a bit of trouble in the US following a decision by the country's largest electronic prescription exchange service, Surescripts, to end a data-sharing agreement with a third party that has effectively cut PillPack off from patients' medication history, but it's unlikely Amazon is going to give up. The US is the prime market but Amazon has since cast its eye wider, including to Australia.