Hospital emergency departments in NSW and Queensland will be using the My Health Record to access health information fast in urgent medical cases as part of a pilot program announced this week.  
 
Emergency clinicians will be able to get details on patients’ allergies and the medicines they take as part of the project being run by the Australian Digital Health Agency in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
 
Designed to help drive the uptake of My Health Record in hospitals, the pilot will also lead to improved safety and quality of patient care.
 
“Where My Health Record is being utilised, we are seeing reductions in duplicated testing and lower hospital readmission rates,” Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said.
 
“However, we need to identify potential barriers to the uptake of My Health Record in hospitals, and enable better integration with primary and secondary healthcare providers.”
 
More than 5 million people now have a My Health Record and over 10,000 healthcare providers are connected.
 
Urgent access to medical records can be lifesaving in an emergency, Commission CEO Adjunct Professor Debora Picone said.
 
“It is time-consuming for hospital staff to gain information on the patient’s medicines, what their GP has been doing to manage the condition, and the procedures provided by other hospitals. This time could be better used treating the patient,” Picone said.
 
The pilot is based on trials conducted in emergency departments by the NSW Nepean Blue Mountains and Northern Queensland Primary Health Networks.
 
To be led by a senior emergency department clinician and overseen by ADHA, the Commission, NSW Health and Queensland Health, as well as consumer and clinical representatives, the pilot is expected to take two years with an interim report due in June 2018.