Future of MedTech Health Reform

My Health Record Data for ´Research and Public Health Purposes´

PulseLine is pleased to report last week the Federal government announced that Australians who don’t want a personal electronic health record will have three months from July 16 to October 15 to opt-out of the national scheme. Under the framework, medical information would be made available to third parties for public health and research purposes from 2020 unless individuals opted out.

The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) welcomes the release of the framework to guide the secondary use of My Health Record system data. The guiding principles within the framework align with MTAA´s position to allow third parties access the data for public health and research purposes.

To inform on how data on the My Health Record system can be used for research and public health purposes while preserving privacy and security of data in the system, the Australian government developed the framework in consultation with key stakeholders.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said My Health Records “provides many benefits to patients, including reduced duplication of tests, better co-ordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions”.

“I would encourage each and every Australian to use their My Health Record and to speak with their healthcare providers regarding these benefits,” he said.

The Australian Medical Association President, Dr Michael Gannon, said the current system meant many patient records were incomplete especially if the patient has seen another specialist or has been discharged from a hospital.

“The My Health Record now provides patient medications, referrals, shared health summaries, pathology and diagnostic imaging reports and, increasingly, hospital discharge summaries”, Dr Gannon said.

Consumer Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells welcomed the government´s announcement.

“The clinical benefits of My Health Record for patients are significant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, and better-informed treatment decisions. For too long, healthcare has lagged behind in exploiting the clear benefits of information technology,” Ms Wells said.

However, issues and concerns would remain to be addressed, especially enforcing law protecting security and privacy.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey says, “Strict privacy control, set by an individual, is a central feature of My Health Record. Each person can control the information in his or her My Health Record, and the healthcare provider organisations that can have access.”

Ultimately, patients will be the biggest beneficiaries of this framework development.

Now under the framework, My Health Record system data may be linked to other datasets, such as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS). This is a great opportunity for the medical device sector.

Ian Burgess, CEO of MTAA said: “The development of My Health Record will provide a tremendous opportunity to improve data collection across the whole health system and across the patient journey. We believe the government should prioritise consideration of the inclusion of medical device data in the My Health Record,”

“This would allow for improved post-market surveillance. While registries can be invaluable they’re complex and expensive. Ultimately, My Health Record should be the main data infrastructure system, rather than maintaining separate data collection systems,” Mr Burgess said.

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