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Australian Digital Health Agency Visits Our Region

Last Friday we were proud to welcome the Australian Digital Health Agency’s CEO, Tim Kelsey, and their Chief Medical Advisor, Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham, to our region to learn more about the use of My Health Record on the ground.

Our region was one of only two in Australia included in the 2016 My Health Record Opt-Out Trial and as a result, over 95% of our residents already have a My Health Record. Being almost two-years ahead of the rest of Australia, has given us the important opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences to help improve the system, and to spread the positive message that My Health Record can, and will improve patient outcomes.

It was an honour for me to accompany Tim and Meredith as they visited local healthcare professionals who generously shared their insights and gave so freely of their time. At Astley Medical Centre, Tim and Meredith were grateful to hear from Dr Patrick Lam and Dr Sadia Suleman, about their personal experiences using the system. At a local chemist, Pharmacist Sheryn Phillips shared how My Health Record helps her reduce the risk of medication errors, particularly for those people on multiple medications, or who may have multiple healthcare providers. Tim and Meredith also had the opportunity to meet with health consumers Ray and Lorraine Gardner, John and Lennette Ruttle, and Allan Baker to hear about the real life impact the My Health Record is having on their daily lives.

Being at the forefront of this digital health journey has given us valuable insights into the benefits of leveraging digital solutions to facilitate better healthcare outcomes in our community. Since the trial in 2016, we have continued to work closely with primary healthcare providers to increase their knowledge and usage of My Health Record. In our region 86% of our general practices are registered to use the tool and 70% are regular users. Thanks to the hard work of the PHN team, 65% of community pharmacies are now also connected, which shows that people in our region are seeing the benefits of using the system.

My Health Record has the potential to transform healthcare in Australia. It provides opportunities to improve access to services, increase provider collaboration, and facilitate the delivery of safe, high quality and effective healthcare, which ultimately saves lives. Implementing any new system is not without its challenges. Sharing those challenges, along with our learnings, is just as important as sharing the good news stories, as this is how we create improved systems now and into the future.

It was a delight for me to showcase the work being done by our PHN in the region, and I congratulate all those involved for making the visit a successful one.


Pictured: Melissa Biki - NBMPHN Practice Support Officer, Dr Sadia Suleman - Astley Medical Centre, Tim Kelsey - CEO ADHA, Lizz Reay - CEO NBMPHN and Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham - Chief Medical Advisor ADHA.​

Pictured: Tim Kelsey and Meredith Makeham with NBMPHN staff and health consumers.  

Related Information:

  • Those living in the Nepean Blue Mountains region who opted out during the 2016 Trial do not need to opt out again from the national expansion. The Australian Digital Health Agency retains their decision to opt out from the program. Those who already have a My Health Record, have the option to cancel it at any time through their My Gov account or by calling the My Health Record Helpline on 1800 723 471.
  • Those who are new to the region since July 2016, will join the rest of Australia in making a decision as to whether having a My Health Record is the right choice during the national opt-out period from 16 July - 15 November 2018. During this time, people can opt-out online or by calling the My Health Record Helpline on 1800 723 471.
  • Our My Health Record Community Engagement Officer, Julie Parkin, is running free Community Information sessions. At these sessions people can learn how to access their record, add information and control their privacy settings.
  • Our Digital Health Strategy for 2018-2021

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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