Digital Health Needs To Be Safe, Seamless And Secure

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey delivered his Your Health in Your Hands – the Digital Evolution of Health and Care in Australia speech at the National Press Club today and outlined the collaboration needed between governments, consumers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs to make data and technology work better for modern health.

“Australia has one of the best systems in the world – by any measure. We are at the forefront of medical research, we have world-class facilities, and the people that provide care are among the most highly skilled and committed professionals anywhere.

“But the hum and whirr of the fax machine in the background of our care services reminds us that there is more to do: paper based healthcare means that clinicians do not always have the right information at the right time to make the best decision,” Mr Kelsey said.

Mr Kelsey said that Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure underpins the country’s vision for digital health. My Healthy Record is the strategy’s top priority because it puts consumers at the centre of their health care and provides choice, control, and transparency.

More than 5.7 million Australians currently have a My Health Record. By the end of 2018 Australia will be the first country of its size in the world to provide mobile records to every person, unless they choose to opt out. By 2019, every registered clinician will have a secure means of communicating digitally, without resort to paper or a fax machine.

Damien Taylor is one of many parents who has experienced firsthand the benefits of My Health Record. His young daughter Maggie underwent open‐heart surgery for a congenital heart defect at seven months old.

“Maggie’s medicines, conditions, and hospital stay information were captured in My Health Record so we won’t need to keep hard copy records and try and remember everything at each medical appointment in the future,” Mr Taylor said.

Dr Elizabeth Jackson also believes digital health is the way forward for Australia’s healthcare system. The Cairns-based obstetrician and gynaecologist uses My Health Record to provide her expectant patients with peace of mind throughout their pregnancies.

“My Health Record is an incredibly valuable tool. It allows 24/7 access to patient records and allows us to work together as a team to deliver high-quality and cost-effective medical outcomes,” Dr Jackson said.

A national communications strategy will be implemented to inform all Australians of the benefits of digital health, and to explain the opt out process. During the opt out period individuals who do not want a record will be able to opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone based assistance.

Engagement at a local level in community and in trusted healthcare provider settings is a central pillar of the communication strategy with research confirming that 89% of people will expect to receive information about My Health Record from their health care provider.

“The benefits of My Health Record must be accessible to all Australians. There has been a particular focus in our communications research on developing appropriate support for people with limited digital literacy or access, and other groups including people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people living in rural and remote communities,” Mr Kelsey said.

The Agency is also working with more than 100 partner organisations, including the Primary Health Networks, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and Australia Post to inform the Australian public about My Health Record, its security controls, benefits, and their rights to opt out.

Information will also be made available in over 15,000 health care locations including general practices, pharmacies, public and private hospitals, and via Aboriginal Medical Services and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Australia Post Chief Executive Christine Holgate said the company is pleased to announce that it will be working closely with the Agency to support the national expansion of My Health Record with 3600 Australia Post outlets reaching up to two million Australians over the three month opt out period.

“Australia Post recognises the critical benefits of My Health Record for improved health sector outcomes. We will support the expansion program through traditional postal and parcel services, and promotion through our extensive post office network,” Ms Holgate said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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