The Australian Digital Health Agency, the organization tasked with improving health outcomes for the country's citizens through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, has claimed "significant progress" towards the National Digital Health Strategy.
ADHA, which is also the system operator of the digital electronic health record platform My Health Record, released a report covering 2018 and 2019, showing the system now covers 90 percent of Australians and has improved access to clinical information within it.
The report shows that more than 75 percent of public hospital beds are connected and uploading, and 60 percent of pathology services are connected with almost all public providers uploading.
Meanwhile, the imperative of medicine safety has led community pharmacy to be the largest adopter in the last 12 months with over 80 percent of community pharmacies registered and more than 60 percent connected to view and contribute to My Health Record.
Among the other goals attained this year is the development of a national framework, as well as revised interoperability standards for messaging, all aimed at helping health professionals more quickly and securely and quickly send patient information to one another.
Fifteen new digital health test beds focused on using national infrastructure such as My Health Record, coupled with research, to deliver new innovative models of care, have been commissioned.
"Whereas in previous years our focus was on rebuilding momentum for digital health and on designing the way forward with our partners, in 2018-19 the agency successfully implemented key parts of the National Digital Health Strategy to support improved health outcomes for Australians," said agency CEO Tim Kelsey.
"We've made important strides in a range of other areas, such as supporting secure messaging and information exchange between healthcare providers," he said.
Kelsey called My Health Record is a "fundamental feature" of Australia's health infrastructure, noting there has already been a total of 1.5 billion documents in the system, with 523 million of those uploaded since February of this year.
The report also outlines goals for the year ahead, including operationalization of a community standards development model to enhance data interchange between disparate clinical information systems.
The ADHA also plans trials and evaluations of proofs-of-concept for the Child Digital Health Record, Digital Pregnancy Record and Child Digital Health Checks, as well as facilitate uploading of advance care planning documentation to My Health Record supporting end of life care.
In October, the organization released an upgrade to My Health Record that gives healthcare professionals online access to a patient's pathology and diagnostic imaging reports.
Australians can also benefit from being able to access their tests and reports in their My Health Record because they can keep track of their results, monitor and compare their results over time and access their results at any time.