23 May 2018

During National Palliative Care Week (20 -26 May 2018) Canberrans are being encouraged to include My Health Record in the discussion of ‘What Matters Most?’

What matters most for a lot of people is being able to take control of their own health and their digital health information.  My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information which is controlled by the individual, allowing health care providers involved in a person’s care to securely share health information.  For people who require palliative care, this takes a lot of the pressure off.

Capital Health Network Chief Executive Gaylene Coulton said that as the ACT’s primary health network, ACT PHN, they are supportive of National Palliative Care Week and encourage Canberrans to use My Health Record to voice, and have documented, their care wishes.

“My Health Record can relieve some of the stress that terminally ill patients and their families experience by helping to coordinate and share information about medications, test results and the care they are receiving from multiple health professionals,” said Ms Coulton.

While most people think palliative care to be just for those in their last days of their illness, Palliative Care Australia CEO Liz Callaghan said that palliative care also helps those to live well with a terminal illness.

“People accessing palliative care services often have complex needs and their care team includes many health professionals including pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. My Health Record makes it easier for those professionals to share information.  Australians can also share their advance care planning documents through their My Health Record, ensuring all health professionals know what their wishes for their future care are,” Ms Callaghan said.

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Clinical Information Officer and Executive General Manager Dr Monica Trujillo said palliative care is for people of any age who have been told that they have a serious illness that cannot be cured; it’s about assisting in managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

“Palliative care can be given alongside treatments given by doctors and members of the treating team. Having a My Health Record means all medical practitioners and treating team can be kept up to date.  My Health Record can enable important health information including allergies, medical conditions, medicines, pathology and imaging reports to be accessed through one system. The benefits could include reduced hospital admissions, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions,” Dr Trujillo said.

A My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they choose not to have one. The opt out period will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018. Records will then be created for interested Australians by the end of the year.

For further information visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or call 1800 723 471.