Embracing the benefits of My Health Record

Blue Mountains pharmacist Samantha Bowen MPS has been using My Health Record for the past six months at Winmalee Chemmart Pharmacy in New South Wales, and would recommend it to other pharmacists.

Ms Bowen said, although the uptake of the system in her area had been relatively slow because of software limitations, she has had a positive experience with the service.

‘Recently I was helping a patient who was discharged from hospital with numerous medication changes,’ Ms Bowen said.

‘The patient didn’t receive a physical copy of their discharge summary, although a copy was faxed to their doctor. When the patient’s wife presented to the pharmacy with new prescriptions and lots of questions about the new medications, we, as pharmacists, found ourselves a bit lost, with no standard reconciliation tool.

‘Because the major hospital in my area was using My Health Record, I was able to view the patient’s discharge summary, including medication changes. This enabled me to identify a prescribing error and confirm the medication plan with the patient’s doctor. Counselling the patient’s wife was much easier because I knew the full story, rather than just the prescriptions I was handed. It made the transition from hospital to community much smoother.’

Ms Bowen said the main benefit of using My Health Record was the ability to access more patient information.

‘Often in community pharmacy I only know part of the story regarding a patient’s treatment. This affects the information and advice I give. Accessing the patient’s record provides a more comprehensive view of their medical history and overall treatment, which enables better decision-making.’

For patients, the main benefit is the ability to visit any health professional and know they can see their full and accurate history.

‘Medication mistakes often happen when patients visit different doctors and can’t recall their medication names or doses and so get prescribed something different. My Health Record offers peace of mind to patients, particularly in emergency situations.’

As a pharmacist working in an opt-out area, Ms Bowen is all for the idea to transition nationally to an opt-out model.

‘A lot of people I’ve spoken to about the system have been relieved to find they already have a record, even if they didn’t register. Less technologically inclined people are relieved they don’t have to build the record themselves,’ she said.

‘I think the idea to transition nationally to an opt-out model will see greater uptake of the record, which is needed to ensure its success. Digital health is the way of the future and I would urge all health professionals to embrace it so their patients can benefit from its use.’

WATCH: Dr Jackson highlighting the benefits of My Health Record