The power to prescribe: Who should have it?
 
 

The power to prescribe:
Who should have it?

A couple of weeks ago at a media conference, a Pharmacy Guild representative was photographed wearing a stethoscope over his white smock. The image triggered an adverse reaction among GPs; some asked how a pharmacist would use the instrument, others whether the event was a costume party.

The heated response suggests the national conversation over whether pharmacists should be able to extend their limited prescribing rights is gaining heat, rather than cooling. So what’s the debate all about? Let’s look at the key parties and what they say is at stake.

Party one: Pharmacists (represented by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia)

Many pharmacies already offer vaccination services and support for chronic disease management. Trials have been conducted in several states, focused on providing assistance to people with conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Pharmacists believe they can do even more to assist Australians who need help with common conditions and will be coming to them to collect medications anyway.

Backed by the Queensland government, the Guild initiated the North Queensland Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot, pencilling it for December 2023 and kicking it off in April 2024. Under the pilot, conditions pharmacists can now treat include acne, hay fever and eczema. For the full list, see About the pilot | Queensland Health

The Queensland Government has since moved to make the North Queensland pilot statewide.

Party two: Governments

Governments are trying to solve a supply and demand problem. It’s hard to get a GP appointment just about anywhere — and generally harder the further you are from a state capital.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said: “Our Government is committed to making sure Queenslanders can access good quality healthcare, no matter where they live across the state.

“We know our hardworking pharmacists are more than capable to deliver these services – for common health conditions – and divert people away from our emergency departments and GPs.

“I am really proud that Queensland is leading the nation with this initiative.”

Queensland Health states: “Pharmacists are highly qualified and trusted members of our healthcare teams. Providing pharmacists with additional clinical training and supporting them to practice to their full scope, will enable them to help and support their local communities.”

Party three: General Practitioners (represented by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACP) and Australian Medical Association)

Doctors say that medications cannot be safely prescribed without a holistic, longitudinal view of the patient’s medical history, as best understood by their usual GP. They say the pilot puts vulnerable people at risk and that a previous trial allowing pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics for UTIs led to incorrect diagnoses and serious conditions going untreated, increasing overall healthcare costs.

Party four: Healthcare consumers (represented by you and I)

While most people prefer a long term relationship with a GP who knows you and your family, getting an appointment when you need it isn’t always easy or affordable. Some people go to hospital emergency departments (or virtual versions) for free help.

Other consumers are opting for convenience, using telehealth providers that offer quick access to scripts and more, but might not have time to hear your health history, (if you can remember it). For this group of consumers, getting help from the pharmacy you’re going to anyway, may be a no-brainer. However, the services are not free. Fees of up to $55 per pharmacist consultation may limit take-up.
Those with multiple or complex conditions are likely to have to wait for the next available appointment with their GP and hope for a cancellation to get in sooner.

Sparring partners

Back in March, the Medical Software Industry Association promised a ‘ding dong battle’ between the Guild, the RACGP and government, placing three key representatives on stage together in Melbourne.

Pharmacy Guild Victorian president Anthony Tassone said the prescribing issue was not about “pharmacists being GPs. It’s about pharmacists being the best professionals they can be…. solving problems for patient benefits.”

RACGP past president Dr Karen Price said she was concerned about the ‘taskification’ of general practice, which hindered longitudinal care. Dr Price said it can take 45 minutes to explore a patient’s medication history before writing an appropriate script. She said a UTI is a “retrospective diagnosis where there may be other issues that can’t be picked up by a pharmacist”.

Representing the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care, First Assistant Secretary (Medicare Benefits and Digital Health Division) Daniel McCabe said Australia faced “acute workforce challenges” and governments were trying to unlock the full potential of professionals who could deliver, “true multidisciplinary care”.

Dr Price said multidisciplinary care was great in hospitals and, while desirable, underfunded and challenging in general practice where, “the people who most need care can least afford it”.

Mr Tassone said doctors and pharmacists were all on ‘Team Patient’ but he and his peers were not rewarded for being part of multidisciplinary teams. “Are we part of the team or are we on the bench to make up the numbers?”

He said: “Patients don’t care. They care about getting care when they need it.”
It seems this conversation is far from finished.

Skin in the game

MediRecords provides secure, cloud-hosted electronic health records and prescribing functionality to healthcare professionals across Australia delivering face-to-face and virtual care.

Further reading:

Female-Friendly Federal Healthcare Budget
 
 

Female-Friendly Federal Healthcare Budget

Australians can look forward to a price-freeze on medicines, 29 new Medicare Urgent Care Centres, 61 walk-in Medicare Mental Health centres and a raft of cancer, HIV and women’s-health measures, as part of a $2.8 billion health package in the 2024 Federal Budget. 

More virtual care and hospital outreach services are also planned to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions — and enable older patients to be discharged sooner into medically supported, safe, comfortable environments. 

Older Australians will also benefit from an extra 24,100 Home Care Packages, which are intended to reduce wait times to an average of six months and provide greater access to in-home aged care. 

Other big-ticket items from the Federal Budget include: 

  • More affordable medicines via a price-freeze on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines to beat inflation: $318 million 
  • Life-changing and life-saving medicines added to the PBS, reducing costs to consumers: $3.4 billion 
  • Conversion and expansion of 24 existing Head to Health services into 61 walk-in Medicare Mental Health centres across Australia: $163.9 million 
  • 29 new Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, aimed to reduce waiting time at hospital emergency departments: $227 million 
  • Military veterans’ claims processing is prioritised with an additional $186 million for staffing and $8.4 million to improve case management and cyber security. The Government will also provide $222 million to overhaul legislation covering veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation. It will direct a further $48.4 million to Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing programs, and $10.2 million to fund medical treatment for ill and injured veterans waiting for liability claims to be processed. 
  • Free bowel cancer test kits for Australians aged 45-49, allowing them to join the over 50s ($39 million) 
  • New Medicare-benefit-scheme tests, including for suspected heart failure and rare cancers, to reduce waiting times and catch health problems sooner. A skin cancer prevention initiative is also included. ($25.3 million)  
  • Improved preventative health measures such promoting health and fitness, including $132.7 million for grassroots community and school sport to encourage participation. 
  • Spending of $44 million will further Australia’s goal of eliminating HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) transmission by 2030. Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said Australia aimed to be the first nation to wipe out HIV. 
  • A boost for alcohol treatment and prevention services, better nutrition programs and organisations supporting people with chronic conditions. 
  • $314.5 million in close-the-gap efforts include $164.3m towards First Nations health infrastructure projects, $54.3m towards training up to 500 First Nations health workers, $45m towards boosting renal services, and water infrastructure works.    

Women’s health is prioritised, including funding for breast cancer treatment subsidies, contraception training for practitioners, and development of a virtual contraception decision-making tool. Other initiatives aimed at women’s health include:  

  • Medicare: Longer consultations provided for complex gynaecological conditions like endometriosis, reducing out-of-pocket costs for women. 
  • Menopause Training: $1.2 million for health professionals’ training to manage women’s health during menopause. 
  • Breast cancer: Cutting the cost of a specific treatment from around $100,000 to $31.60. 
  • Funding for research on menopause, pregnancy loss, and fertility: $53.6 million over four years  
  • Miscarriages and sexual/reproductive health: $8 million for developing data sets 
  • Enhanced antenatal and postnatal care, including mental health screening: $56.5 million over four years 
  • Miscarriage: public awareness program, with support for affected women and families 
  • First Nations Women’s Health: Investments in prevention work for preterm births, stillbirth action plan, and free period products for First Nations communities. 

Breaking the Silence on Heavy Periods
 
 

Breaking the Silence on Heavy Periods

For many women, dealing with excessive menstrual bleeding is an unspoken struggle, often endured because it has been misunderstood as ‘normal’.

The inaugural International Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Day on May 11 aims to change that narrative.

This movement, propelled by shared experiences and expert insights, seeks to shed light on the challenges faced by women worldwide and encourage open conversations about heavy periods.

Some research has found that the issue affects one in four women.

Heavy menstrual bleeding isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it can significantly impact quality of life.

“It’s disabling,” said one 53-year-old lived-experience contributor to the campaign.

“On some heavy bleeding days, I could not leave the house.

“I became anaemic, which carries further health risks,” she said.

“But we do not have to suffer. Do not hesitate to see your doctor – treatment is available.”

More than half of women who experience heavy periods have not discussed treatment options with a healthcare professional, found a recent survey by marketing research company Two Blind Mice for medical technology company Hologic.

The survey also found that women experiencing excessive menstrual bleeding felt embarrassment and shame, which hindered help-seeking.

Doctors warn that heavy bleeding may be a sign of a medical condition.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist and campaign spokesperson Talat Uppal emphasises the importance of assessing whether heavy periods disrupt daily activities, rather than solely focusing on the amount of blood loss.

“”If a woman’s period is resulting in a compromised quality of life, then it’s heavy menstrual bleeding,” she said.

Treatment options for heavy menstrual bleeding are available and varied.

Reluctance to address the issue can delay access to timely care.

Dr Uppal stresses the need for more awareness and open conversations to empower women to take control of their reproductive health.

International Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Day’s – online event

Join Bleed Better tomorrow, May 11th at 10 am AEST for an online event featuring guest speakers who will raise awareness, offer management insights, and advocate for a shift in attitudes towards heavy menstrual bleeding. Register here: https://www.bleedbetter.org/ihmb-online-event

Further reading:

Bleed Better

Wear White Again

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Clinical Care Standard

Tales from the Frontline: APHA Congress 2024
 
 

Tales from the Frontline:
APHA Congress 2024

Members of the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) gathered in glorious weather on the Gold Coast for their annual congress last week but the industry forecast was for turbulence and storms ahead.

Across the two-day event, MediRecords Tim Pegler found that the recurring theme was that many private hospitals are barely breaking even — or are loss-making — and that hospital closures are imminent.

Mental health facilities are struggling to recruit and retain psychiatrists, who can find a better income and lifestyle working privately via telehealth. Private maternity hospitals are also at risk.
 
Tension with the private health insurance (PHI) industry was evident; many APHA members pointed to indexation of PHI fees failing to keep up with escalating costs for labour, IT systems, insurances, administration, cybersecurity, and building costs.
 
PHI representatives returned fire, being critical of private hospitals building new facilities that result in competition for doctors, which are already in scant supply. They said rising costs of living are driving consumers to downgrade their PHI memberships, making them eligible for fewer private hospital procedures.
 
If private hospitals close, particularly in regional areas where doctors are scarce, the impact will be felt throughout the public system with longer waitlists and more pressure on emergency departments.
 
An appetite to find common goals and work together – government, private sector, public sector and PHIs, seemed to be one positive note for the Congress.

Other Congress insights

  • 15 private hospitals have closed in the past year, including 4 mental health facilities.
  • The national shortage of GPs and radiologists is likely to worsen, with a generation of practitioners due for retirement without ready replacements.
  • Private hospital operating costs are rising rapidly while revenue is falling. 43% of hospitals have an EBITDA below 5% and 68% below 10%. A consultant warned that innovation and investment are not occurring and if this doesn’t change further closures are likely.
  • The public system has embraced virtual care more than the private hospital system.
  • Queensland Health has a Surgery Connect program outsourcing waitlisted surgical procedures to private hospitals.
  • PHI representatives say chemotherapy, hospital in the home and rehabilitation in the home programs will be vital to support Australians but more GPs need to refer to these services.
  • The ADHA reported strong growth in use of the My Health Record (MHR), which now houses 50% of pathology reports and 20% of diagnostic imaging reports. It urged more private hospitals to integrate with the MHR, cautioning that disconnected health information systems “are no longer sustainable”.
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    Australian Healthcare Week Wrap-Up!
     
     

    Australian Healthcare Week Wrap-up!

    MediRecords thoroughly enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Australian Healthcare Week in Sydney on 20 and 21 March.

     

    Here are 5 key take-outs from AHW –

    1. Virtual care keeps growing

    Victorian Virtual Emergency Department Clinical Director Loren Sher said the free statewide service is on trajectory to see 200,000 patients this financial year. Dr Sher said: “One of our messages is that we’re not here to replace existing care, we’re here to supplement care and also to fill gaps…” The VVED works with Ambulance Victoria and residential aged care facilities to care for patients that might otherwise attend at busy hospitals, ensuring patients can, “access care… regardless of their postcode, and … access the right level of care”.

    AHW Stage 1

    2. Helping hospitals meet demand may require out-of-the-box thinking

    MediRecords proudly supports the VVED as an e-prescribing platform and we can be a tad one-eyed in thinking digital health tech is an answer to connecting care records, streamlining safe workflows, and helping reduce ambulance ramping and bed blockages. But we were mighty impressed by the modular hospital facilities from Q-bital Healthcare Solutions, who can put an operating theatre on a truck and deliver it to your site to meet escalating clinical demand.

    Q-Bital AHW_PNG

    3. A patient perspective informs patient-centric care

    Former Cleveland Clinic CEO Edward Marx has long been a voice for digital disruption but his stint in a hospital bed with a “widow-maker cancer” underlined his passion for patient-centred care. Mr Marx detailed five pillars for improving patient experience, “most of which can be solved for free”. These included plain language communication, intentionally involving patients in decision making on treatments, and creating an organisation-wide culture of empathy.

    Mr Marx said that healthcare executives should perform ward rounds and hold meetings in labs, nursing stations and other patient-facing areas, to hone their awareness of patient experience. He advocated for AI to accelerate the personalisation of care. “My bank, my airline and my hotel all know me so why doesn’t my hospital?”

    Cleveland Clinic_Edward Marx_AHW

    4.Technology vendors should team up

    A panel of influential information technology leaders delivered a wake-up call to vendors, urging collaboration to research and solve known problems with interoperable solutions. Northern Territory Government Health Chief Clinical Information Officer Dr John F. Lambert said, “If you’re not coming to me with someone in the business who wants to use (the solution), don’t waste my time. You also need an executive who cares enough about it, to take money off something else.”

    AHW

    5. The healthcare workforce is evolving

    St Vincent’s Health Australia Group CEO Chris Blake said there will be as many engineers in healthcare as doctors within a decade. Rapid developments in technology such as AI are one reason for this, but vendors may not always be aligned with buyers. Dr Lambert urged tech suppliers to focus on AI solutions for boring administrative workflows, rather than more glamorous clinical applications that could introduce risk.

    AHW Team
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      Australian Healthcare Providers to Automatically Share Data with My Health Record Within a Year

      Australian healthcare providers to automatically share data with My Health Record within a year

      New rules mandating healthcare providers share information to My Health Record by default are expected next year.

       

      In a five-year strategy and roadmap released last week, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) detailed “priority initiatives that will contribute to delivering the strategy’s vision of an inclusive, sustainable and healthier future for all Australians through a connected and digitally enabled health system”. 

      The ADHA is charged with accelerating the adoption and use of digital services and technologies across the Australian health system, and this report identifies four change enablers. Among these is regulatory and policy change 

       Dovetailing with the federal government’s Digital Health Blueprint 2023 – 2033 , the other enablers are: 

      • Secure, fit-for-purpose and connected digital solutions 
      • Digitally ready and enabled health workforce 
      • Informed consumers and carers with strong digital health literacy 

       Consumers and clinicians can look forward to health-information exchange and real-time access to data when the National Digital Health Strategy 2023-28 is fully implemented. 

      Secure, connected, interoperable digital solutions are key to accelerate the adoption and use of digital services and technologies across the Australian health ecosystem, according to the new strategy. 

      The ADHA is a corporate Commonwealth entity supported by all Australian governments to cultivate the adoption and use of digital services and technologies in health.

      MediRecords Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Galetto said, “We welcome this report and stand ready to collaborate as industry partners.”

      “In particular, we welcome the government’s regulatory efforts aimed at enabling efficient health data exchange to support accessible, person-centered care for patients.”

      “At MediRecords, we are fully prepared to embrace and support the government’s vision that mandates “real-time information exchange at the point of care”. Our cloud-based solutions are equipped with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) by design, ensuring seamless connectivity within the broader healthcare ecosystem.”

      “We’ve already observed a growing trend among healthcare service providers who are eager to future-proof their operations by adopting the next generation of clinical solutions. This proactive approach not only aligns with our capabilities but also underscores our commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative technology.”

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        What to consider when selecting a practice management system?

        What to consider when selecting a practice management system?

        Looking for a new system to manage your practice, clinical notes, and patient records? What should you be looking for in a software solution?  

        Delve into the following factors to consider when seeking a healthcare practice management system. These insights come from conversations with our customers, decades in digital health, and personal experience as healthcare consumers.

        1. System architecture

        When navigating PMS options, one of the first crucial decisions is whether to opt for a server-based or cloud-based system. Evaluate the long-term costs, encompassing initial setup, subscriptions, IT support, and maintenance. It’s important to tailor your choice to your practice’s model of care, whether it’s virtual care/telehealth, bricks-and-mortar, or a hybrid approach.

        Read our article, “Eight Reasons to Embrace Cloud Technology in Healthcare” to learn how cloud technology can help in substantial cost savings, potentially saving your practice $600k in 10 years.

        2. Feature requirements

        To maximise the efficiency of your healthcare delivery, it’s essential to define specific feature requirements tailored to your practice. From appointment booking to electronic health records and billing, identify key elements such as ePrescribing, Medicare billing & claiming, online booking, My Health Record integration, secure messaging, patient portal functionality, investigation requests, and robust reporting capabilities.

        3. Training and support

        A successful integration of a PMS into your healthcare setting relies heavily on the training and support provided by the vendor. It’s important to enquire about the level of training and ongoing support offered by the PMS vendor, and to assess the available support mechanisms for addressing any day-to-day operational issues.

        4. Evaluate other key aspects –

        Other important factors to consider include the following:

        • Ease of use: Ensure the system is user-friendly, promoting an efficient workflow within your team.
        • Mobile accessibility: Verify if the PMS allows remote access, facilitating flexibility and on-the-go management.
        • Interoperability: Confirm the system seamlessly integrates with other healthcare systems, promoting efficient information exchange.
        • Security and compliance: Ensure the PMS adheres to necessary regulations to safeguard patient data, maintaining the highest standards of security.

        The truth is every practice has slightly different needs and workflows so no practice/patient management system will be a perfect fit. Each will have strengths and weaknesses and potentially require compromise to accommodate your team’s unique requirements. Finding a flexible, robust system that can tick most of the boxes, now and tomorrow, suggests you’re on the right track.

        Contact our Sales team today to discuss how MediRecords cloud-based software can help you. 

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          What’s happening in health?
           
           

          What’s happening in health?

          January has skedaddled and February is upon us. In Australia, that means the kids are back at school, the trains are crowded again, and things are getting serious at work. In the interest of getting you up to speed, here’s a selection of recent happenings in health and healthcare across the globe.

          Some come from the frontlines of technology, while others show human connections are increasingly important:

          As we enter a newish year, here’s what kept hospital CEO’s up at night in 2023. Do any of these resonate with you?

          While we’re on the topic of nightmares, the WHO predicts a 75% increase in global cancer rates over the next 26 years, due to smoking, alcohol use, obesity, ageing and other factors.

          Based on that prediction, it’s important that mRNA technology trials have begun with human subjects in the UK. The trial aims to see if introducing cancer ‘markers’ to people can jump-start an additional immune response and boosts their fight against melanoma, lung cancer and other solid tumours – a bit like summoning an extra battalion of internal cancer fighters. It’s early days, but another step toward personalised cancer treatments.

          In Australia, government data shows Federal Budget initiatives aimed at increasing bulk billing for medical appointments have had an impact, with rural regions the main beneficiaries.

          Scientists have suggested the appendix might not be as expendable, or useless, as generally perceived, and has a hidden role in gut health.

          Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s Neuralink venture says it has put a wireless brain chip in a human. Details are sketchy but Neuralink has previously stated a goal to assist people experiencing paralysis.

          Have you heard of orthosomnia? It is a term for the obsessive quest for perfect sleep. A just-published survey found sleep-medicine doctors viewed the sleep-tracking devices that some of us are wearing on our wrists to bed as a contributor to orthosomnia and misperceptions about sleep. Clinically, consumer sleep technology was “neither helpful nor unhelpful”.

          The jury is still out on mental-health apps, particularly those reliant on chatbots.

          Speaking of mental health, Sesame Street’s Elmo asked the Internet how people were doing and triggered an avalanche of more than 9000 responses from people struggling with mood and mental health. The take-home lesson is the need for regular wellbeing check-ins is real.

          Please let us know if anything else has caught your eye. We aim to keep a finger on the pulse throughout 2024.

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            Federal Government’s digital-health plan puts people first
             

            Federal Government’s digital-health plan puts people first

            The Federal Government has launched its 10-year blueprint for digital health investments and initiatives, with a key focus on encouraging Australians to trust in data and enable its innovative use in healthcare. 

            The much-anticipated blueprint envisions an efficient, person-centred healthcare system underpinned by secure, interoperable data, and responsiveness to emerging technologies.

            Digitally enabled collaboration between hospitals, primary care and community providers, including allied health, will ensure information follows patients through the system, the report said.

            The Digital Health Blueprint 2023-2033 is accompanied by an Action Plan establishing broad strategies for the coming decade.

            The central aim of the blueprint is convenience for consumers whose healthcare journeys will be supported by multidisciplinary teams providing coordinated care. These teams will deliver services underpinned by digital-health technology that enables consumers to make informed decisions about their care.

            While eyebrows were raised at the timing of the release of such an important planning document, three days before Christmas, the arrival of the national strategy was welcomed by the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA).

            The blueprint states: “Trusted, timely and accessible use of digital and data underpins a personalised and connected health and wellbeing experience for all Australians.”

            The action plan sets out a range of initiatives either already started, ongoing or at planning stage. “While each initiative calls upon specific delivery partners, the health software industry should be recognised for its key role in realising many of these,” it says.

            The Initiatives include:

            • Allied health providers to connect to a beefed-up My Health Record, “building on adoption within general practice and medical specialists”
            • Strengthening and expanding ePrescribing, including to public hospitals
            • Real-time prescription monitoring
            • Electronic medication charts 
            • Establishing a core national standard — Sparked – Core FHIR standards — for consistent patient health interaction information capture (MediRecords is an active participant in the Sparked community)
            • “Digitally empowering” Australia’s healthcare workforce
            • Establishing a national eRequesting capability for pathology and diagnostic imaging health services, facilitating electronic clinical-decision support
            • National health-information exchange capabilities, requiring agreement between states and territories
            • Broadening the range of assistive technologies available for seniors living independently.

            MediRecords is uniquely capable of supporting the digital health initiatives. The MediRecords  Care platform is designed for use by multidisciplinary teams and for data interoperability. Featuring FHIR and API connectivity, MediRecords is working on a major national project for data sharing across the healthcare spectrum of patients, GPs, allied health providers, specialists and hospitals.

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              Keeping it real: Artificial Intelligence to dominate digital health-tech in 2024

              Keeping it real: Artificial Intelligence to dominate digital health-tech in 2024

              Twelve months ago, MediRecords made eight predictions about health-tech trends to watch in 2023. While we weren’t too far off the mark, it’s fair to say some of these emerging trends are still, well, trending. Nonetheless, as we welcome 2024, it’s time to look forward again.

               

              Any health-tech pundit will have two words for you in 2024: Artificial Intelligence. This is because the AI genie is out of the bottle. The race is on to use this nascent technology in healthcare so that it is safe, secure, accurate, and unbiased. Here are some of the ways AI is being deployed — or will be:

              Smart notes: Using AI assistants to translate consultations into clinical notes should mean less administration and more time for person-centred care. This doesn’t mean the AI is diagnostic, just smart enough to summarise a conversation into pertinent points, after listening to a telehealth or in-person appointment

              Data-driven decisions: No two patients are exactly the same but algorithms can detect patterns across thousands of previous cases and predict the statistically most likely path forward. This will be the basis for health coaching, chronic disease and other illness management programs, hopefully providing timely information at ‘teachable’ moments that can alter and optimise patient outcomes.

              Handy insights: Your handheld device or wearable is likely to know things about you before anyone else. How hard you tap the screen, your vocabulary, tone of voice, gait, facial expression, skin tone, heart rate, respiration, perspiration and oxygen saturation are signposts to your mental and physical health. Combining these data points will enable earlier interventions. Imagine how powerful this could be for triggering a call to a clinician or counsellor when a patient needs help or reminding someone to take their medication.

              Getting under your skin: A drop of blood, a lick of saliva and other bodily fluid samples can help you find long lost relatives but also medications that work better for you and foods that make the orchestra in your gut microbiome play in tune. Consumer kits for quicker insights into fertility, fitness, faeces and more, will become readily available.

              Coming to your sensors: Data will be harvested from sources including your phone camera, your clothing (See This AI-Powered Sock Could Revolutionize the Care of People With Dementia | Tech Times) and even your toilet (See This Futuristic Toilet Sensor Reads Your Pee to Measure Health – CNET). If it can be measured, it will be.

              Next available: As competition for healthcare-consumer dollars increases, buyer power is boosted. Consumers will expect Uber-style technology to find the next available appointment and have their results and medications delivered, pronto. If funding and regulatory hurdles can be leaped, healthcare could potentially be delivered globally.

              Ch-ch-ch-changes

              Speaking of regulations, there’s much anticipation associated with the Federal Government’s recently released Digital Health Blueprint for the next decade; see:

              The Digital Health Blueprint and Action Plan 2023–2033 | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care). A key commitment is that personal health data is available and interoperable – in other words useable — wherever you need care. MediRecords is actively involved in the Sparked community developing core national standards for FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). We look forward to Federal incentives for adherence to new industry-wide data models so that healthcare organisations can seamlessly share information.

              Looking within

              The acclaimed US science-fiction author Ray Bradbury had the following to say about predicting the future: “Predicting the future is much too easy… You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.”

              This sentiment is central to MediRecords’ digital health wish list for 2024. We understand the job is never finished. Health tech can never stop striving to do things better, smarter and safer. MediRecords is building next-generation, cloud-connected healthcare. We can confidently predict we’ll be sharing major new product enhancements in coming months.

              About MediRecords

              MediRecords is Australia’s leading cloud electronic health record and patient management system. MediRecords is used by clinicians providing outpatient and inpatient care in community health, Defence, hospitals, emergency medicine, industry, universities, and telemedicine.

              References

              “Tremendous emerging demand”: The security and data challenge in Australian healthcare – Cloud – Digital – Security – CRN Australia

              AI May Be on Its Way to Your Doctor’s Office, But It’s Not Ready to See Patients – KFF Health News

              Amazon Health Launches New Initiative To Address Chronic Conditions (forbes.com)

              Cardiology has embraced AI more than most other specialties (cardiovascularbusiness.com)

              Health technology in 2024: Projections for AI, digital health, and more (chiefhealthcareexecutive.com)

              Use Technology to Support Your Clinicians | HealthLeaders Media

              Why Providence had to ‘blow up’ the old way of providing care with virtual nursing (beckershospitalreview.com)

              https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/addiction-recovery-provider-sees-success-ai-enabled-telehealth-meds-monitoring

              https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/disruptors/google-says-medical-ai-tool-is-performing-at-an-expert-level.html

              https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/digital-health/new-apple-headset-coming-in-february-could-be-used-by-hospitals.html

              https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/innovation/a-recipe-for-magic-how-baptist-health-is-infusing-ai-into-all-levels-of-care.html

              https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/mayo-clinic-inks-multimillion-dollar-deal-with-ai-startup.html

              https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/telehealth/is-virtual-nursing-overstated.html

              https://www.pulseit.news/australian-digital-health/ifhima-2023-digital-health-adoption-in-primary-care-and-the-covid-effect/

              https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/how-ai-powered-clinical-notes-api-could-boost-telehealth

              https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/why-ai-will-never-eliminate-need-pharmacists

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