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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      Communication the key to reducing hospital readmissions

      Communication the
      key to reducing
      hospital readmissions

      Can health tech help reduce hospital readmissions?

       

      According to a global research review, telehealth and virtual wards can certainly make a difference.

      The Deeble Institute — the research arm of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) — reviewed international research on the role of primary care in reducing hospital readmissions.

      In its Evidence Brief no. 24, the Institute says telehealth can be used to boost general practice involvement in hospital discharges and subsequent multidisciplinary virtual care, resulting in fewer unplanned readmissions.

      Unplanned readmissions are associated with poorer health outcomes, dissatisfaction with healthcare, increased costs, and bed blockages.

      The report highlighted research that showed improved communication and coordination of care between GPs, hospitals and/or pharmacists is effective.

      “Effective interventions included … electronic tools to facilitate quick, clear, and structured (health) summary generation… use of electronic discharge notifications; and web-based access to discharge information for general practitioners,” reported the Netherland’s Hesselink and colleagues.

      Virtual wards are another way to reduce risk of hospital readmissions and improve outcomes during hospital-to-home transition, with research indicating these can be effective with specific disease cohorts but less so with non-specific, complex diseases.

      The Evidence Brief contrasted virtual wards with Hospital in the Home (HITH). HITH is a form of remote hospital inpatient care whereas virtual wards facilitate transition from hospital care to home care.

      “Compared to HITH, virtual wards typically have a higher degree of interdisciplinary care coordination and review, are simpler in design and implementation, and have a broader scope of activities,” The Deeble Institute reported.

      “Transitional care is similar to virtual wards, but usually implemented within existing systems. Virtual wards typically require a completely new care pathway and potentially new organisations to manage its implementation.”

      MediRecords Connect provides FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources) and API options for connectivity with hospital systems, including patient administration systems (PAS). MediRecords is deployed as an ePrescribing system at two Australian virtual emergency departments and as an outpatient billing and claiming system for Queensland Health. New functionality enabling multidisciplinary case management and inpatient care will be released later this year.

      MediRecords is also integrated with the Coviu telehealth platform for streamlined virtual consultations.

      Top three Technologies that reduce hospital admissions:

      Further reading

      ‘A wonderful day’: telehealth to become permanent

      Improving Patient Handovers From Hospital to Primary Care

      Consumer adoption of digital health in 2022: Moving at the speed of trust

      PARR++ is dead: long live predictive modelling

      Impact of ‘Virtual Wards’ on hospital use: a research study using propensity matched controls and a cost analysis

      Applying the Integrated Practice Unit Concept to a Modified Virtual Ward Model of Care for Patients at Highest Risk of Readmission: A Randomized Controlled Trial

      Effect of post-discharge virtual wards on improving outcomes in heart failure and non-heart failure populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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        Federal Government digital health upgrade grants on the way

        Federal Government digital health upgrade grants on the way

        Update: 24 April 2023

        New details are now available on the Strengthening Medicare General Practice Grants.

        Grants of $25,000, $35,000 or $50,000 are available depending on practice size. The grants will be administered by your local Primary Health Network (PHN) or the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). To take advantage of this funding, complete a grant application sourced via your PHN or NACCHO.

         

        MediRecords welcomes the news that Federal Government grants aimed at helping to enhance digital health capability for Medicare general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) will become available from April. 

         

        General practices and ACCHS will be eligible for one-off grants of up to $50,000 for innovation, training, equipment, and minor capital works under three categories:

        1. Enhance digital health capability – Accelerate moves to a more connected healthcare system that meets future standards;
        2. Upgrade infection prevention and control arrangements – Ensure infectious respiratory disease (e.g. COVID, influenza) patients can be safely seen face-to-face; and/or
        3. Maintain and/or achieve accreditation against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practice to promote quality and safety in health care.

        The grants were an election promise from then opposition leader Anthony Albanese in May 2022. The Strengthening Medicare – GP Grants Program was subsequently allocated $220 million in the October 2022 federal budget.

        Medicare general practice grants will be administered by local Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and ACCHS grants by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). Practices and health services owned or operated by a state, territory or local government agency are ineligible.

        MediRecords Chief Executive Officer Matthew Galetto welcomed the move and said he hoped it signalled a shift to better data connectivity between GPs and the broader health care system.

        “We would like to see incentives for general practices to switch to the cloud, given the environmental, security and interoperability benefits that flow from leaving behind legacy software and hardware systems.”

        Mr Galetto said the grants program was an opportunity for the Federal Government and PHNs to drive industry-wide reform and boost adoption of new technology platforms.

        “Just as PIP (Practice Incentives Program) grants helped shift GPs from paper-based systems to electronic, this grant funding should seek to do the same for next generation interoperable technology.”

        “This is bigger than improving the My Health Record. There is an opportunity to follow the United States example and provide genuine connectivity of digital health records for patients, from primary to tertiary care.”

        MediRecords is a true cloud electronic health record system featuring global standards-based interoperability and SNOMED-CT-AU clinical coding. MediRecords pioneered cloud practice management software in Australia and is now used by general practitioners, specialists, multidisciplinary clinics, hospitals, and government departments.

        Practices considering using their grant to upgrade to cloud clinical software are welcome to reach out to MediRecords. We provide onboarding services including training, data migration and configuration of electronic prescribing, telehealth integration, Medicare claiming and more.

         

         
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          MediRecords on FHIR at Northern Health
           

          MediRecords on FHIR
          at Northern Health

          Mental Health teams at Northern Health now have access to the MediRecords e-Prescribing platform, following successful integrations with the hospital’s patient administration system (PAS) and Clinical Patient Folder (CPF) software.

           

          The pioneering FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources) connections mean doctors don’t have to search a second database for patient records and can generate electronic prescriptions quickly, informed by current clinical information, including allergies and medication histories. Prescription records are then sent to CPF in real time, and no longer have to be posted to patients or manually scanned and uploaded to hospital digital records.

          The FHIR go-live signals Phase 2 of MediRecords’ implementation at Northern Health, following an initial launch as a stand-alone system for Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) doctors in July 2022. Wider use of the e-Prescribing system is being adopted, with Northern’s Outpatient clinics and mental health included in a staggered roll out from 31st January 2023. This implementation was the first FHIR implementation performed at Northern Health.

          MediRecords Chief Executive Officer Matthew Galetto said Northern Health had demonstrated the benefits of using industry-leading FHIR technology to streamline data interoperability and support efficient patient care in a hospital setting.

          “It is important for healthcare organisations investing in new digital health projects to future proof their investments by adopting the latest standards. Implementing FHIR will help organisations stay ahead of the curve and meet near future regulatory requirements,” Mr Galetto said.

          Mr Galetto said MediRecords would be releasing additional FHIR integration pathways for clients throughout 2023, as part of the Connect pillar underpinning the MediRecords platform.

          “We are fortunate to be at the forefront of FHIR development in Australia, thanks to our role in the Leidos-led consortium delivering a new Health Knowledge Management (HKM) system for the Australian Defence Force,” Mr Galetto said.

          “Data sharing for the HKM project has applicability throughout Australian healthcare and means we will be able to connect health care records in primary care all the way up to hospital, or tertiary care. This will help provide patients and clinicians with access to the right data at the right time, with significant safety benefits.”

          Mr Galetto thanked Northern Health for being an early adopter of the technology, the first time MediRecords has been deployed in a hospital setting supporting virtual care.

          “The Northern Health team are pioneers in virtual care and are now leading the way in connecting patient information systems.”

          Northern Health’s Mental Health Division provides hospital-based, community and specialist mental health services to youth, adults and aged people across northern and western Melbourne. The introduction of ePrescribing means prescriptions can be sent instantly and electronically to patients or carers, with a QR code to be scanned at pharmacies for dispensing. This provides significantly faster access to new and repeat medications for mental health clients.

          Media inquiries

          For further information, please email Matthew Galetto on matthew@medirecords.com or Tim Pegler at tim.pegler@medirecords.com

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            8 health-tech trends to watch in 2023
             

            8 health-tech trends to watch in 2023

            Tim Pegler

            Tim Pegler - MediRecords Senior Business Development Manager

            The pandemic years have been actioned-packed for health-tech. What have we learned and what can we expect from 2023?

            1. The cloud is (still) coming 

            Based on conversations with customers, the market is increasingly aware of the security and infrastructure benefits of shifting to cloud. So why is the transition so slow? Partly because the healthcare industry is often understaffed, time poor and therefore change averse. The good news is that those who embrace fresh and more flexible technology rarely look back.

            Speaking of shiny and new…

            2. Robots are here to help 

            Staff shortages due to illness, burnout and pandemic-related workforce changes necessitate doing more with less. We can expect automation to play a bigger role in repetitive tasks, and robots to play support and even investigative roles.

            Exhibit A: Robot dietitian RMC adds robot dietician (thetandd.com)

            Exhibit B: Robot meds Mayo Clinic picks up stake in startup making pill-sized robot (beckershospitalreview.com)

            Exhibit C: AI bed management NUHS’s AI platform predicts bed state 2 weeks in advance | Healthcare IT News

            Exhibit D: Robot cleaning crews Cameron employs robots to super clean facilities | Heraldrepublican | kpcnews.com

            The automation trend also means…

            3. Lock in telehealth

            Virtual and remote care are generally cheaper than hospital beds (How to implement a virtual ED in 10 weeks – Wild Health Summits : Connectivity) and more consumer friendly than queuing for in-person care (see The cost and carbon savings of telehealth, quantified (beckershospitalreview.com)). Virtual mental health care, in particular, appears to be cementing its role. However, digital literacy and equitable access to technology, including Internet coverage, can be barriers to care.  Successful virtual care hinges on having accurate information, tools and help whenever needed so…

            4. Maybe it’s time to make new friends

            Difficulty accessing developers and tight tech budgets mean partnering can be the faster (and cheaper) path to product enhancement, in contrast to D-I-Y builds. Which means…

            5. Interoperability is king

            Products designed for integration have a strategic advantage over those that have not committed to interoperability at their core. Speaking the same language helps and Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) (Welcome to the HL7 FHIR Foundation) are the way to future-proof your health tech. Another interoperability truth is…

            6. Clean data counts

            Making sense out of a hotchpotch of data dropped into a free-text box is time consuming and painful for data analysis. Storing information in a logical, consistent and correctly coded format (MediRecords uses SNOMED CT AU SNOMED CT-AU and Australian Medicines Terminology June 2022 Release | Australian Digital Health Agency) helps the data wranglers do their thing. Quality, clean, actionable data has value and needs to be kept safe because…

            7. Cyber attacks are on the rise

            US data shows ransomware attacks more than doubled from 2016 to 2021 (JAMA Health Forum – Health Policy, Health Care Reform, Health Affairs | JAMA Health Forum | JAMA Network). The UK and Australia are also under siege. Minimising risk is mandatory and, while no system is risk-free, cloud technology allows you to outsource security management and those never-ending software updates so you can concentrate on core business.  This is important because…

            8. Change is gonna come

            Australian governments are still exploring how to introduce systemic change following royal commissions into aged care and mental health services (Victoria). Royal commissions are ongoing into disability, and defence and veteran suicide. The Australian Digital Health Agency is promoting collaboration and reform. NSW is working on a Single Digital Patient Record (SDPR). Victoria is moving toward a health-information exchange system, connected to a statewide Mental Health Client Management System. Queensland is pursuing better health information connectivity and remote monitoring options. Tasmania has a digital transformation strategy underway. There are versions of virtual emergency departments emerging across Australia…

            Buckle up. 2023 could be a wild ride.

            About MediRecords

            MediRecords is a FHIR-enabled, true cloud clinical platform with ePrescribing and telehealth integrations. MediRecords supports GPmultidisciplinary and specialist clinics across Australia and is working with Queensland Health, the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department and the Australian Defence Force on innovative models of care delivery. Please book a demo if you’d like to discuss solutions for your business.

            Want to dive deeper? Further reading below:

            2023 predictions: Health tech suppliers give their verdict (digitalhealth.net)

            What health tech trends CIOs are focused on in 2023 (beckershospitalreview.com)

            Virtual everything, asynchronous care, sustainability: Healthcare innovation predictions for ’23 (beckershospitalreview.com)

            CMIOs on what to project for 2023 (beckershospitalreview.com)

            Digital Health Review of the Year 2022

            MR.R4.CORE\Home – FHIR v4.0.1 (medirecords.com)

            Report: Telehealth accounts for about 10% of outpatient visits | MobiHealthNews

            The King’s Fund interoperability report highlights relationships and tech (digitalhealth.net)

            Russian hacking group ‘KillNet’ targets US healthcare (beckershospitalreview.com)

            2023 forecast: 7 big-picture goals for hospital leaders (fiercehealthcare.com)

            Top 10 hospital and payer trends to watch in 2023 | Healthcare Finance News

            National Digital Health Strategy and Framework for Action | Australian Digital Health Agency

            Digital Health Transformation – Improving Patient Outcomes 2022-2032 | Tasmanian Department of Health

            DOH-Strategic-Plan-Nov-2022-update.pdf (health.qld.gov.au)

            victorias-digital-health-roadmap.pdf

            Single digital patient record set to deliver vastly improved patient experience | eHealth NSW

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              MediRecords Unwrapped 2022
               

              Let's unwrap 2022


              Matthew Galetto - Founder and CEO

              I can’t believe it is that time of year again although, judging by the weather in Sydney, you could be forgiven for thinking it is winter!

              2022 has been a stand-out year at MediRecords. I am very proud of what we achieved over the last twelve months.

              We continue to lay foundations for success, focusing on our people and company-making initiatives across all areas of the business. The company has grown to a team of 140 capable, dedicated, and energised staff, all focused on our common goal – building a world class health technology business.

              The year started off with a bang by signing the Australian Department of Defence JP2060 – Phase 4 contract, along with our partners and consortium leaders Leidos Australia.

              We accelerated from there, growing the team and developing an array of new products and features in response to contracted work and customer feedback. Recently released items and features due for release in 2023 include:

              We also set up two new offices, delivered four major releases to Leidos as part of JP2060 – Phase 4 and went live at Northern Health, where MediRecords is playing a vital role in the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED). Our implementation at Northern Health includes what is likely the first FHIR-based integration between a hospital PAS (Patient Administration System) and an outpatient primary care solution – well done to all involved.

              2023 is set to be another stand-out year

              Other new features planned for 2023 include integrated payments in quarter two, more virtual care functionality, and a rapidly growing list of FHIR resources. Our lightweight EMR, complete with admissions and charting functionality creating a longitudinal patient record, will be available in quarter four. 

              Care, Connect, Engage

              On that note, MediRecords is getting a makeover with the launch of MediRecords 2.0. We have taken all our learnings over the last few years, listened to our customers, and applied that feedback – along with a healthy dose of innovation. Register your details for early access to MediRecords 2.0 news & previews here

              Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

              Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank all MediRecords staff and our valued customers for your support in 2022. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday break. Stay safe, relax, and enjoy your time with friends and family. We look forward to seeing you again in 2023.

              Merry Christmas.

              Matthew

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