Digital Health Case Studies

Real nurses outline issues facing primary health care nurses and the use of digital technologies as a solution to providing safe and efficient healthcare.

Overview of My Health Record documents

My Health Record is a secure digital place to store health information, including immunisations, prescriptions, and emergency contact details. My Health Record is available to anyone in Australia who has Medicare or an individual healthcare identifier (IHI). My Health Record helps people to navigate their health through all phases of life, from birth through to teenage years and into older age. 

There are five different types of views located within My Health Record:

  • Medicines Information view
  • Medicare overview
  • Immunisation view
  • Pathology reports overview
  • Diagnostic imaging reports overview

Information entered into a person’s My Health Record can come from three different sources:

  • Health care providers can enter clinical documents into MyHR; these documents include Shared Health Summaries, Event Summaries, Pathology Results and Discharge Summaries.
  • Medicare sourced information available in MyHR includes Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) claims information; Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS); Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) information and Australian Organ Donor Register details.
  • Consumers can upload information into their own MyHR including personal medications (over the counter medications), allergy summaries and advance care planning documentation. Consumers can also upload personal health notes which are not viewable to health care providers.

Image credit: Australian Digital Health Agency

The Nurses Voice: Case studies

Registered Nurse Tracey Chong participated in APNA’s Digital Health Nurse Transformer project while working as a Primary Health Care nurse during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tracey has since joined Coordinare (SE NSW PHN) as a Digital Health Project Coordinator (Aged Care Focus). Tracey shares examples of real issues facing primary health care nurses, and how these challenges were overcome using digital technologies, to enable safe and efficient patient care.

 Working within a general practice setting during the height of a pandemic, Tracey identified an early issue when local aged care facilities provided the general practice with a list of residents due for a Covid-19 booster doses. Tracey noted there may have been potential discrepancies from when this list was created - to the time that the general practice received the documentation - until the time the vaccination was administered.

 To ensure that the correct information was available, Tracey utilised the My Health Record system to cross-check each person’s vaccination status, prior to administering further vaccine doses.

 During this time, many software vendors acknowledged the importance of being able to view clinical information contained in the My Health Record system, so they updated their software programs to provide My Health Record functionality.

✔ Immunisation consolidated view in My Health Record

  • This view contains information sourced from Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and My Health Record. You can access the most recent Shared Health Summary and Event Summary if the document has immunisation information available.
     
  • The view shows immunisation history including date, disease/indication, and vaccine details, including batch number and vial serial number, dose, source, and a link to the source document.

    ‘I always like to use My Health Record to verify information’ - Tracey Chong, RN
     

Registered Nurse Jane Bollen participated in APNA’s Digital Health Nurse Transformer project. Jane now works in a primary health care consultancy role and continues to drive digital health utilisation, conversations, and learnings. Jane provides examples of issues facing primary health care nurses and consumers when access to My Health Record information is not readily available, and the solution!      

 Information contained in a person’s My Health Record assists nurses and other healthcare providers to make more informed decisions when providing care. However, not all healthcare providers currently have the My Health Record system embedded into their clinical software, meaning that important clinical information may not be available.

 To combat this issue, Jane notes that the my health app is useful for health care providers involved in a person’s treatment and care, to access information they need, to make more informed choices at the time of treatment.

 Patients receiving healthcare from Specialists or Allied Health Providers who may not have access to My Health Record within their clinical software, can share their health information at the time of consultation, by accessing the my health app on their mobile device.

 Patients can access the my health app on their mobile device anywhere, anytime. During the consultation, patients can show and share relevant health information from their My Health Record with health care providers, giving confidence to both the clinician and to the person receiving care.

✔ my health app

my health is an Australian Digital Health Agency owned and managed application (app) which can be used by patients to access key health information in My Health Record. This will be particularly useful for patients who are seeing healthcare providers who currently may not be able to access My Health Record from their software – For example, many allied health providers or medical specialists are not currently connected to the My Health Record system. Patients can now choose to show and share their health information to providers at the time of consultation – it’s secure, convenient, and easy to use.

Learn more about connecting to my health app           

Whilst on holiday, 76 year old Allan visited a physiotherapist due to an injury he sustained. Before providing treatment, the physiotherapist asked Allan about his current medications and health issues. Allan has multiple medical conditions and has trouble remembering the names of his medicines, but he knew the required information was in his My Health Record. 

 Before heading away on his travels, the nurse at Allan’s usual general practice suggested that Allan download my health onto his mobile phone. During the consultation with the physiotherapist, Allan easily accessed the Medicines section in my health, finding a list of all current medications and dosages, and shared this information, along with his medical history, with the physiotherapist at the time of consultation.

 my health is the perfect way for people to share their health information with healthcare providers who are unfamiliar to them, and who may not be able to access My Health Record in their clinical software. Healthcare information can be shared with the clinician at the time of consultation

 my health contains the same information that is included in a person’s My Health Record and can be installed on a mobile device and used to view information such as immunisations, medicines and test results; anywhere, anytime. Ensuring that clinical information contained in a person’s My Health Record is accurate and up to date is a focus for nurses and other health professionals working in primary health care.

Downloading the my health app onto my phone gave me confidence to travel around Australia, as all my health information was literally at my fingertips.” - Allan 

✔ my health app

my health is an Australian Digital Health Agency owned and managed application (app) which can be used by patients to access key health information in My Health Record. This will be particularly useful for patients who are seeing healthcare providers who currently may not be able to access My Health Record from their software – For example, many allied health providers or medical specialists are not currently connected to the My Health Record system. Patients can now choose to show and share their health information to providers at the time of consultation – it’s secure, convenient, and easy to use.

Learn more about connecting to my health app     

Registered Nurse Tracey Chong participated in APNA’s Digital Health Nurse Transformer project while working as a Primary Health Care Nurse. Tracey has since joined Coordinare (SE NSW PHN) as a Digital Health Project Coordinator (Aged Care Focus). Tracey shares examples of real issues facing primary health care nurses, and how these challenges were overcome using digital technologies, to enable safe and efficient patient care.

 Sharing the care of complex or chronic wound care between healthcare providers (general practice and community health services) can assist patients to receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time, that best suits the patient. But how do we ensure that other members of the patients’ health care team can access clinical information in a timely manner, if it wasn't sent to them directly?

 Tracey adopted the practice of uploading an Event Summary to document any changes in wound care management, for patients receiving shared care between the general practice and the local community health service.

 Sharing  the care of complex or chronic wound care and uploading changes in care management to a person’s My Health Record, via a Shared Health Summary or Event Summary, ensures health information is available to health care providers in a timely manner.

✔ Healthcare provider uploads

  • Shared Health Summary is a summary of a patient’s health status at a point in time. This includes medical conditions, medicines, allergies and adverse reactions, and immunisations.
     
  • A Shared Health Summary is created by an individual’s nominated healthcare provider, as defined in the My Health Records Act, with the information extracted from their local clinical information system.
     
  • An Event Summary captures health information about a significant healthcare event that is relevant to the ongoing care of an individual. It may be used to indicate a clinical intervention, improvement in a condition or that a treatment has been started or completed.

    ‘What a wealth of information that My Health Record contains, and how we can use it day to day to make our practice better and to help make our patients safer’ Tracey Chong, RN
     

Registered Nurse Tracey Chong participated in APNA’s Digital Health Nurse Transformer project while working as a Primary Health Care Nurse. Tracey has since joined Coordinare (SE NSW PHN) as a Digital Health Project Coordinator (Aged Care Focus). Tracey shares examples of real issues facing primary health care nurses, and how these challenges were overcome using digital technologies, to enable safe and efficient patient care

 Nurses will empathise with the frustration and uncertainty surrounding claimed Medicare items relating to chronic disease consultations; and relying on patient memory is problematic. While contacting Medicare directly to ascertain if and when a patient may be eligible for MBS claims is an option, Tracey noted it is not the most efficient use of nursing time or business management.

 Tracey referred to the Medicare overview document within My Health Record and found the MBS claiming information she needed. 

 Using My Health Record to find relevant information and dates as to when people have had chronic disease management consultations or assessments completed and claimed, saves time.

Medicare overview in My Health Record

  • Prescription information from Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS).
     
  • The patient’s organ and/or tissue donor decisions are sourced from the Australian Organ Donor Register.
     
  • Details of patient's immunisations as recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
     
  • Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) claims information.

    ‘Finding information through My Health Record is so much easier than getting on the phone to Medicare’ – Tracey Chong, RN
     

Registered Nurse Tracey Chong participated in APNA’s Digital Health Nurse Transformer project while working as a Primary Health Care Nurse. Tracey has since joined Coordinare (SE NSW PHN) as a Digital Health Project Coordinator (Aged Care Focus). Tracey shares examples of real issues facing primary health care nurses, and how these challenges were overcome using digital technologies, to enable safe and efficient patient care

 Many Australians choose to travel for lengthy periods, spending the colder months away from their homes to travel to warmer climates, but unfortunately illness and disease may at times join their vacation. Seeking healthcare from unfamiliar providers may cause angst for the traveller and the clinician at the time of illness, and Tracey identified potential difficulties in providing quality health care to returned travellers if healthcare information is missing.

 Information contained in Shared Health Summaries or Event Summaries and uploaded to a person’s My Health Record allows health care providers to have access to clinical information when travellers who are unknown to them require health care.

 Hospitals may upload Discharge Summaries, and diagnostic imaging and pathology providers may upload reports in addition to Shared Health Summaries or Event Summaries.

 Ensuring that clinical information contained in a person’s My Health Record is accurate and updated is a focus for health professionals working in primary health care.

✔ Healthcare provider uploads

  • Shared Health Summary is a summary of a patient’s health status at a point in time. This includes medical conditions, medicines, allergies and adverse reactions, and immunisations.
     
  • A Shared Health Summary is created by an individual’s nominated healthcare provider, as defined in the My Health Records Act, with the information extracted from their local clinical information system.
     
  • An Event Summary captures health information about a significant healthcare event that is relevant to the ongoing care of an individual. It may be used to indicate a clinical intervention, improvement in a condition or that a treatment has been started or completed.
     

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


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