Improved safe medicine dispensing and reductions in hospitalisations caused by side effects are aims of a new partnership between the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to drive the use of the My Health Record.

According to the ADHA, an ageing population and the growing prevalence of complex and chronic disease has highlighted the role of community pharmacists in safe medicine delivery, and uptake of the My Health Record will give them access to real-time information on consumers’ prescriptions and health conditions.

“Timely access to medicines information is key to improving consumer health outcomes. Pharmacies, both community-based and otherwise, are important contributors of medicines information as they are able to automatically upload dispensary information to the My Health Record system,” an ADHA spokesperson said.

“The My Health Record system can also provide pharmacies access to clinically relevant information from other healthcare providers and consumers that can ensure the provision of the most appropriate treatment for the consumer. This can include information contained in hospital discharge summaries, shared health summaries from general practitioners, and consumer-entered information about over-the-counter medications and other supplements.”

All medicines have potential side effects and can interact with other drugs. Every year unintended side effects lead to the hospitalisation of 230,000 and many more people experience reduced quality of life, at a cost to the system of more than $1.2 billion.

As part of the partnership, the ADHA and the Guild will promote the My Health Record to community pharmacies nationally. The Guild is developing training modules to support community pharmacists in implementing My Health Record. ADHA trained pharmacists will work as digital health ambassadors and present to My Health Record seminars, workshops and educational events, while supporting the development and testing of multidisciplinary care models. The ADHA and the Guild will also work on optimising interoperability with pharmacy clinical service IT platforms.

“Community pharmacists have long been early adopters and innovators in digital health, and this will spur the sector on to make an even bigger contribution,” Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia David Quilty said.

The partners will also work collaboratively to support efforts to end the use of paper scripts.

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