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Marina Fulcher
13 June 2018

by Marina Fulcher

My first “proper” job was working in a large general practice in Warwick, England. Little did I know where that job would lead. Since then, I have worked with a wide range of different specialist, general and allied health practices as well as BreastScreen, community mental health, public and private hospitals.

Using digital tools allows my practice to deliver improved healthcare and patient outcomes and is a real benefit. Also, from a management perspective, identifying opportunities for cost saving and efficiency is a critical task and using digital tools assists with this.

My Health Record is a really useful resource for all practices. It provides access to information about a patient’s health history in a central location.

I know, from my years managing practices, how much time is wasted chasing up the information needed to support care for a patient who is seeing the GP or healthcare provider when this important information has not arrived. 

Unsurprisingly, the patients expect the information doctors need to treat them will be available. Often this is not the case. This information, such as test results or discharge summaries can now be included in a My Health Record.

Embrace the future

Practice managers are often the people who lead change and encourage the adoption of new initiatives in the practice.

My Health Record is an opportunity to support our practices and embrace the future of healthcare. I remember when printing prescriptions was new. At first it seemed to take a little longer. Now it is part of the workflow – business as usual.

Integrating My Health Record into daily practice is no different. Uploading and reviewing the My Health Record will become an integral component in delivering and improving high quality, patient-focused healthcare.

I recently heard of a young girl who was taken to hospital by ambulance. The person with told the emergency doctors that the patient had a My Health Record which showed she had an allergy. As a result, the emergency doctors were able to avoid treating her with a drug that would have caused a severe reaction and an even more critical emergency.

Once all Australians have a My Health Record – unless they choose not to – it will remove the need to register patients or ask if they have one already.

Their My Health Record will become a rich resource of information that can be accessed and controlled by the patient to support the care they receive.

Already, most of us receive information through a wide variety of digital (and non-digital) channels. Pathology or diagnostic imaging providers have their own secure messaging portals. These are different to the secure messaging portal used for sending and receiving letters and reports.

Imagine if we needed a mobile phone or email address for every service provider. That is what it feels like sometimes when trying to stay connected. With My Health Record and the expansion of other supporting digital tools, this will be unnecessary as our systems will be connected.

One of the challenges for us all now is keeping on top of a digital environment as it evolves, even when we are faced with managing a fast-paced and ever changing day-to-day operational environment, as well as cajoling our fellow team members to try something new and different. 

In my view we must move with the times and adopt this changing way of delivering healthcare. We owe it to our patients to integrate My Health Record into daily practice so they can benefit from all it has to offer.

Marina Fulcher is a Senior Clinical Reference Lead with the Australian Digital Health Agency based in Sydney, who has been a Practice Manager and Health Care Management Consultant for more than 25 years. She is a Fellow, Life Member and past National President of the Australian Association of Practice Management, and is also a member of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association.