Active Archives Support Australia’s Priority for Fully Connected Health Information

Summary

In Australia, there is a major push toward full interoperability for healthcare records. The goal is for health information to flow freely to patients and between clinicians from multiple settings. There are efforts underway to help guide this quantum leap forward to deliver, “Immediate access to critical diagnostic information wherever requested,” as described by an official from the country’s Digital Health Agency. To achieve a fully connected future, an active archive solution like HealthData Archiver® can support the long-term accessibility of patient records.

Active Archives Support Connected Health in Australia

Australia is regarded as a digital health leader with a number of initiatives and programs in place to support the increased use of technology solutions across its healthcare ecosystem. This is in part due to the efforts of The Australian Digital Health Agency, established in 2016, which has national responsibility for the country’s digital health strategy. The agency supports a connected healthcare system that is accessible (for patients and clinicians), progressive, and secure.

As the country continues to address its forward-thinking digital health strategy, there will be even more of a focus on patient engagement and connecting healthcare records across different providers. Innovative technology solutions, including a modern EHR coupled with an active archive solution like HealthData Archiver®, can support the overall information sharing goal to connect patients and clinicians to the comprehensive medical record, especially when there are electronic health record (EHR) upgrades and replacements.

My Health Record allows every Australian to access and update records.

One of the biggest digital health initiatives in Australia is its interoperable national e-health program based on personally controlled unique identifiers. The My Health Record program, which is a result of the My Health Records Act of 2012,  is an electronic medical record program that allows patients to access and manage their health records. Patients can view their records and add information about allergies, adverse reactions, and other updates to ensure the records are accurate. All healthcare providers in the country have achieved the ability to use of this system within the last few years.

To help guide the effort, the Digital Health Agency created the National Digital Health Strategy for 2023-2028 with four digital health priorities:

  1. Digitally enabled: Health services are connected, safe, secure, and sustainable.
  2. Person-centered: Australians are empowered to look after their health and wellbeing, with the right information and tools.
  3. Inclusive: Equitable access to health services, when and where they are needed.
  4. Data-driven: Readily available data informs decision making at the individual, community, and national level, contributing to a sustainable health system.

This national strategy includes input from public and private sectors with the aim to deliver an inclusive and sustainable health system for all Australians through a connected and digitally-enabled health system.

The goal in Australia is for a fully connected health information system with the patient at the center.

Record sharing (interoperability) is a top priority.

A Health Information Gateway is underway that will provide a secure and scalable platform for exchanging and accessing health information. The Gateway is positioned to integrate health information from multiple sources into clinical information systems. This supports the overall national health strategy and specifically the My Health Record patient system.

Speaking of the Gateway, Amanda Cattermole, Australian Digital Health Agency CEO said:
“A connected healthcare system is at the heart of the National Digital Health Strategy and while our national digital health infrastructure has already delivered significant benefits for Australians, it is now time to modernise and unlock the potential that new technologies offer.”

Digital tools deliver quantum leap with immediate access to diagnostics.

The Agency’s chief clinical advisor, Dr. Steve Hambleton shared in a recent press release:

“Immediate access to critical diagnostic information wherever requested is a quantum leap forward in supporting clinicians to make the best decisions for the patient. Digital tools will never replace doctors, but doctors who use digital tools will likely replace doctors who don’t.”

Interoperability challenges remain in connecting records across multiple locations and between different systems.

While a fully connected health ecosystem is the goal, there are inherent challenges in sharing records between different electronic health record (EHR) platforms. There are efforts underway to transform the My Health Record system to better meet health information sharing requirements for consumers and healthcare providers. Recently, the government invested several million dollars to help health software vendors connect to My Health Record. Funding also was allocated toward establishing a national legislative framework for national health information sharing across settings and borders.

Jun 04 2024

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