Queensland Health’s online patient information portal has led to more comprehensive and better coordinated care, saved GPs time otherwise wasted on paperwork, and attracted surprisingly low opt-out rates in the six months since its launch.
 
The Viewer provides general practitioners with access to their patients’ public hospital records and is already being billed as a success by the state government, with more than 1550 GPs signed up and 35,800 interactions in the Health Provider Portal.
 
Queensland was the first state in Australia to roll-out a platform allowing GPs to access data from a number of its clinical systems, and feedback has been “very positive,” according to Deputy Director-General of Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Division Dr John Wakefield.
 
“GPs are particularly pleased with having faster access to information about their patients who are being or have been treated in public hospitals,” Wakefield told Healthcare IT News Australia.
 
“This improved sharing of information means the care provided to a patient by private and public clinicians is comprehensive and better coordinated. Doctors can devote more time to medical care and less time to searching for information and handling documents.”
 
The Viewer contains consolidated clinical information about patients who have received care at a Queensland Health facility, including pathology, radiology and pharmacy records, care plans and discharge summaries.
 
So far 149 patients have opted out of allowing GPs to access their records.
 
For Wakefield, the ‘Better connecting GPs to public hospitals’ project differs from the federal government's My Health Record with the immediacy of its information sharing and the healthcare benefits that can bring.
 
“It not only bridges the information gap between public hospitals and GPs, but provides the GP with real-time data,” he said. 
 
“This allows GPs to provide patients with better-coordinated care, negating the need to undergo duplicate tests.” 
 
The project was a key component of the state government’s $361.2 million Specialist Outpatient Strategy: Improving the patient journey by 2020 released in late 2016.
 
In addition to the benefits for clinicians and patient care, the government also hopes the portal will allow more patient care to be managed in the community, reducing the numbers of new or repeated referrals to specialist outpatient services.
 
GPs register with The Viewer online once they have met personal and professional identification requirements. Patients can opt out by calling 13 HEALTH.