The Australian Digital Health Agency will dole out $360,000 for nine specialist software vendors to integrate their clinical systems with the controversial My Health Record.
The partnership – aimed at boosting the use of the e-health record system by medical specialists like cardiologists and anaesthetists – will provide each Australian vendor with $40,000.
It follows an expressions of interest process in May that invited software developers with systems in at least 10 private specialist practices to apply.
The funding will be used by the vendors to design a seamless, secure way to link up with the My Health Record over the coming months.
The ADHA will also lend its “design expertise ... to co-produce improvements in design with their users”.
The vendors are: Best Practice Software, Clinic to Cloud, Clinical Computers, Genie Solutions, Intrahealth, Medical-Objects, Medical Wizard, Software for Specialists and Zedmed.
While many specialist already use the My Health Record through their software such as in public and private hospitals, ADHA said integration with specialist systems was still lacking.
Other areas across the health system have been easier, with more than 92 percent of general practices now connected to the e-health record system.
President of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) associate professor Mark Lane said real-time access to the My Health Record was essential for giving specialists a more complete picture of the patient.
“Specialists play a key role in diagnosing and managing complex health conditions, increasingly as part of a care team,” he said.
“Having seamless and secure access to My Health Record at the time of a consultation will help ensure specialists are equipped with as much information about a patient as possible when making a challenging clinical decision, such as recommending a course of treatment.”
ADHA chief operating officer Bettina McMahon said the partnership would address the “challenge” of designing solutions for a “hugely diverse group of clinicians”
“We want to support our local clinical information system vendors to integrate the My Health Record into their software in a way that encourages specialists to embrace these systems in the same way they’ve embraced other technology,” she said.
“We won’t be specifying what changes should be made to systems. Instead, we will work vendors and their customers – the specialists themselves – to come up with designs that specialists and their practice staff will love to use, and which will benefit from the rich data provided by the My Health Record.”