Brisbane GP John Aloizos has battled for change many times over the past two decades

Dr John Aloizos helped develop the incentives to put the first computers on clinician’s desks, had a key role in establishing the Divisions of General Practice, campaigned for childhood immunisation and the roll out of guiding principles for medication management and was one of the first champions of the national accreditation system for general practices.

So speaking out as a Clinical Governance Advisor for the introduction of My Health Records for Australia was a natural step. Today he uses his health-tech expertise and intimate knowledge of the primary healthcare sector to ensure the My Health Record system is going to work for clinicians and their patients.

Patients like the My Health Record

“The number of registrations tells us that patients like the concept and are happy to be part of it, so it is going to keep growing simply by word of mouth.

“The most helpful driver for a patient going out to register for a My Health Record would be their doctor saying it is a good idea. So I'm asking my colleagues – when treating a patient with a chronic illness, use the Assisted Registration tool in your software to sign them up, and create a Shared Health Summary.”

Dr Aloizos says the My Health Record has obvious benefits for patients: “One of my patients who has a number of co-morbidities, recently presented on a weekend to the Princess Alexandra hospital with chest pain and he was diagnosed with a heart attack and admitted for treatment. He told the hospital doctor that he had a My Health Record and they looked it up and got his history which was very helpful for his treatment.

“I’ve now had a number of patients tell me how they’ve reminded the doctors in hospital emergency departments that they have a My Health Record – which was then looked up by the hospital doctor.

“I recently saw a new patient who attends Redlands hospital for dialysis for renal failure three days each week. Because he had already registered for a My Health Record, I checked this in my software and downloaded the discharge summary from a recent hospital admission – that saved me a lot of time. ”

Advantages to the GP practice

The benefits to GPs, their staff and practices are also abundant in terms of saving time and money.  

“What starts as a new offering soon becomes part of normal workflow. Electronic prescribing was initially the biggest hook – you didn’t have to handwrite the prescription! Now we have Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (ETP) where the prescription is barcoded and transfers all the information on the prescription onto the chemist’s computer – this benefits the chemist, as well as sending the information on to the My Health Record system. Here the National Prescription and Dispense Repository (NPDR) holds all the prescribed-dispensed information which can be viewed by the clinicians as well as reconciled and consolidated in the NPDR. Soon we will be able to download a consolidated medication list into our system to upgrade the patient’s electronic record to the latest medicines. This has enormous benefits for time saving and workflow when we update our records from discharge summaries and specialists letters and will enable the currency of medication lists.”

He said most clinicians were already receiving secure messaging and more specialists were sending letters electronically.

“This is fantastic because it is easier to review and file the information in the patient’s record. We are saving time and we save costs in our practices – because you don’t need our receptionists to pull out files and fax and scan things.  After you have done it once, you start adopting it as business as usual.”

Getting others on board

Dr Aloizos said “Australia’s GPs have been at the forefront of primary health care reform since the release of the General Practice Strategy in the early 1990s and continue to be world leaders in every aspects of primary health care – digital health is part of that journey. Digital health is the enabler for progressively improving our efficiency, raising the standard of care for our patients and sharing their information with them and all the other health service providers who also provide their care.”

 

Need help with implementing digital health and the My Health Record system in your practice? Call Customer Care on 1300 901 001 or email [email protected]