Emergency care guide to My Health Record

A national initiative launched this week will use My Health Record to support and inform clinical decision-making on the frontline of emergency care.

With more than 22 million Australians now having a My Health Record, a suite of clinical tools and resources to support the time-critical work and informed decision-making of frontline hospital emergency department (ED) clinicians was released this week at the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine’s (ACEM) Annual Scientific Meeting.

The tools and resources, developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in partnership with ACEM, include a comprehensive guide for use by EDs when treating people requiring emergency care. The guide contains practical information on accessing up-to-date My Health Record data.

Emergency physician, Fellow of ACEM and the Commission’s Clinical Lead on the project, Dr Andrew Hugman said: “Immediate access to additional information about a patient’s medical history can be crucial in time-critical settings such as EDs. My Health Record facilitates clinicians’ viewing of material that is otherwise hard to see outside of their regular hospital network. It’s not surprising that there is increasing interest among ED clinicians to better understand the system.”

With more than 40 per cent of ED presentations occurring out of normal business hours, the My Health Record system can support ED clinicians to access patient information out of hours and from outside their local hospital network.

“My Health Record doesn’t replace information stored in local hospital records, but it can help us to retrieve other information more quickly, avoiding reliance on phone calls and fax machines to reach places like private pathology and radiology providers,” Dr Hugman said.

“This new guide explains the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of My Health Record to ED clinicians, including where it can fit into their current practice. It has been written for clinicians by clinicians.”

The amount of clinical information flowing into the My Health Record system has increased significantly since February 2019 and the rapidly expanding system already contains more than 3.4 million shared health summaries, 37 million prescriptions and 22 million pathology reports.

GP and Chief Medical Adviser for the Australian Digital Health Agency Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record is making positive change in how clinicians treat patients.

“We’re already seeing benefits to the healthcare of Australians, which will continue to grow as more health providers involved in a patient’s care contribute and access patient information on their My Health Record,” she said.

She added that while the guide was specifically developed for emergency departments, it will be useful to any clinician working in a healthcare setting who wants to further understand how My Health Record can improve health outcomes.

The guide describes the types of clinical documents that may be included in a patient’s My Health Record and the origin of that information. There is also a focus on protecting vulnerable patient groups, and the legislative requirements of which ED clinicians must be aware.

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