Residential aged care facilities have just over two years to adopt the national health record system, which has poor uptake to date, an industry forum has heard.

In its response to the aged care royal commission final report, the government said it would support residential aged care facilities to adopt My Health Record by June 2023.

As of 25 April, 10 per cent of residential aged care facilities registered for My Health Record but only 3 per cent have used the system, a spokesperson from the Australian Digital Health Agency told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“The key factor impacting registration and use is connectivity in residential aged care facilities,” the spokesperson said.

Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council chair of the National Home Care Group Anne Livingstone said findings of the Residential Aged Care Clinical Software survey of 230 residential aged care providers and facilities highlights this lack of e-health record connectivity.

“Seventy-one percent of those respondents to this survey indicated their software did not interface with My Health Record, with only 8 per cent indicating any interface, Ms Livingstone told an ACIITC National Forum on Tuesday.

Anne Livingstone

Only 5 per cent of respondents  said they recorded resident data on My Health Record, 77 per cent did not upload any material to the system and 72 per cent did not know whether their residents used the e-health record, she said.

The royal commissioners recommended aged care organisations use a digital care management system that has electronic medication management and interoperability with the My Health Record by July 2022.

The government said the new Aged Care Act from July 2023 will set out any requirements related to digital technology and My Health Record.

The ADHA has prioritised working with the aged care sector to deliver the benefits of a connected digital health system to care recipients, the ADHA spokesperson said.

“The initial focus for the Agency is residential aged care facilities’ uptake of digital technology like My Health Record and electronic medication management systems.”

Providers need compliant software

The forum also heard from Marwa Osman, provider adoption lead at the Australian Digital Health Agency, on how providers can access My Health Record.

Ms Osman said aged care providers have to use a clinical information system that conforms with the My Health Record to upload information.

“Without [compliant] software, you would be accessing the My Health Record through the National Provider Portal, and the National Provider Portal is a viewing platform only so you would not be uploading to the My Health Record,” Ms Osman told the ACIITC National Forum.

However, compliant software products have different levels of integration with the My Health Record and only some enable providers to both view and upload information, she said.

Accessing My Health Record

To access the My Health Record system, Ms Osman said aged care providers need to have a My Health Record Security and Access Policy, which informs ADHA how they will access the system, who has access and what training staff have received.

Providers also need to assign an organisation maintenance officer, she said.

“[The person] effectively [ensures] My Health Record is being accessed in accordance with what’s been indicated in the policy, and that only those people who were authorised to access it are able to do so,” Ms Osman said.

Providers also need to assign a responsible officer, who is often the CEO or director, to apply to register the organisation for the My Health Record, she said.

Providers also have ongoing participation obligations, including reviewing the My Health Record Security and Access Policy each year and removing access to people who have left the organisation.

Other key information

  • All individuals in My Health Record have a unique Individual Health Identifier
  • Healthcare professionals accessing My Health Record have a Healthcare Provider Identifier
  • Aged care providers accessing My Health Record have a unique identifier called the Health Care Provider Identifier Organisation
  • All access to My Health Record is recorded.

Conformant clinical software products

Find out more about My Health Record in aged care.

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1 Comment

  1. The adventure ahead for us is to develop solutions that leverage My Health Record to improve aged care in Australia. It is up to us to develop those solutions and work to improve the functionality and value of My Health Record. It is one tool in our armament to deliver better care.

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