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Practical uses of My Health Record in aged care
By John Hardgrove, APNA Project Manager
Source: APNA Primary Times Winter 2022 (Volume 22, Issue 1)
My Health Record, a secure online summary of individuals’ health information, is currently in use across Australia. In aged-care settings, the initiative offers significant potential to improve care coordination and health outcomes for older Australians, who tend to interact frequently with the health system and generally experience a higher prevalence of chronic and complex conditions and polypharmacy.
My Health Record offers a range of practical uses for aged-care health professionals and patients/residents. When meeting a patient/resident for the first time, the health-care professional can gain an overview of the patient’s/resident’s health status through their shared health summary in the My Health Record system. This can include their medical conditions, medications, allergies and adverse reactions, and immunisations.
When a patient/resident has been to hospital, the health-care professional can gain an overview of the encounter through their discharge summary in My Health Record. This can include details of treatments, procedures and tests performed and recommendations for follow-up. The health-care professional and the patient/resident can refer to My Health Record for their medications information rather than relying on their memory. This can include the brand name and active ingredients, strength and dosage instructions.
The patient/resident can elect a nominated representative, such as a family member or carer, to share visibility of and help to manage their file in My Health Record. The patient/resident can also upload an advance care planning document to My Health Record to record their wishes for end-of-life care. The health-care professional can also view the immunisation history for the patient/resident.
A case study: Pablo and Elly
Pablo and Elly are a married couple who live together in an independent living unit. They are both 89 years old and in good health. Pablo and Elly are both proactive in ensuring that their health-care providers keep the documents in their My Health Record files up to date. They are planning to move into a retirement village and, as part of their planning, they both complete advance care directive (ACD) documentation. Their GP, Dr Louka, suggests uploading the ACDs to their My Health Record and shows them how to add their daughter Kirralee’s details to the Advance Care Document Custodian section. They have both had their influenza vaccination, so they are able to participate in the retirement village community network.
Dr Louka shows them that their vaccination history, including their influenza vaccine and last tetanus shots, were recorded in their My Health Record. Recently, Pablo slipped and fell in the living room of their unit – he was unable to get up off the floor. Elly called an ambulance. Emergency nursing staff in the hospital accessed Pablo’s My Health Record to gain an overall picture of his health and medical history, including any allergies and adverse reactions, medicines and diagnoses. A hip fracture was identified and surgery carried out.
During Pablo’s stay at the hospital, documents were updated and uploaded to Pablo’s My Health Record. Pablo’s recovery was complicated by pneumonia and physical deconditioning. Discharge planning options were explored, and it was agreed that Pablo was a candidate for a Transition Care Package (TCP), which is short-term care to help recover and regain his independence. Pablo was transferred to the aged-care facility across the road from their retirement village unit with the goal to return home to their unit. Nikita, the TCP nurse, accessed Pablo’s My Health Record and was able to access details of Pablo’s hospital visit, surgery, treatments, interventions and medicines by viewing Pablo’s discharge summary and medicines information. The ACD that Pablo had uploaded helped to guide discussions about his goals and wishes as part of her assessment.
In conclusion, use of My Health Record presents a number of benefits in the aged-care setting and can improve patient care outcomes significantly. Through the My Health Record system, you can access timely information about your patients, such as shared health summaries, discharge summaries, prescription and dispense records, pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, and immunisation information.
You can find out more information about My Health Record at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/.