Digital health for allied health practitioners

Digital health and allied health

AHPA works closely with the Australian Digital Health Agency and other government departments, as well as with key stakeholders such as Primary Health Networks (PHNs), to advocate for the role and needs of the allied health sector around the use of digital health technology. We also continue to work on developing resources and delivering support activities on behalf of our member organisations to support allied health practices in their journey towards digitisation. A key focus is supporting the broader allied health sector to understand current government programs and initiatives relating to digital health.

My Health Record

Since the end of the ‘opt-out’ period in early 2019, every Australian has an individual My Health Record, apart from those that chose to ‘opt out’. Most Australians chose to have a record and over 90 percent of consumers now have individual records. This provides the potential to better connect health providers and consumers with health information and has significant potential benefits.

AHPA believes that there are genuine benefits to use of My Health Record by allied health professionals and is working to support practitioners to understand how they can use and contribute to My Health Record as well as what implications this might have for their practice. We work closely with our member associations as part of that work.

In 2019, AHPA undertook a series of workshops with clinicians to help us better understand the workflows of various allied health professions, their interactions with other health professionals as part of multidisciplinary healthcare, and how these may relate to digital health systems such as My Health Record. The outcomes of those workshops were used to develop resources for practitioners as well as to guide the work of the Australian Digital Health Agency to ensure My Health Record is meeting the needs of allied health providers.

We recognise that there are a range of factors that may make use of My Health Record challenging for allied health practitioners and we continue to advocate for improvements that will address these.

Communities of Excellence project

AHPA recently began work with the Australian Digital Health Agency, local PHNs and providers as part of the Communities of Excellence project. This project focuses on the townships of Emerald (QLD) and Port Hedland (WA) and is aiming to create fully connected communities that use My Health Record and secure messaging to support the health needs of local consumers. Both communities have a strong mix of different health services as well as supporting diverse population groups that include travellers, fly-in and fly-out mine workers and the broader rural community around them.

Emerald has a population of 14,000 and has the following health providers:

  • 1 hospital
  • 5 general practices
  • 4 pharmacies
  • 36 allied health providers
  • 5 diagnostic imaging and pathology services

The Hedland area (encompassing Port and South Hedland) has a slightly larger population of 15,000 and has the following health providers:

  • 1 hospital
  • 3 general practices
  • 3 pharmacies
  • 11 allied health providers
  • 5 diagnostic imaging and pathology services

AHPA is working with allied health practitioners in both communities, as well as the relevant PHNs, to provide support and to learn from their experiences. Our goal is to help those allied health providers fully utilise My Health Record and to show how it can support the care that they provide. This will provide guidance for future work to engage the allied health sector in adopting My Health Record.

Resources

AHPA has produced the following resources as a result of these projects, which can be found on the Resources page of this website:

  • Digital health toolkits, including use cases*
  • Digital health policies for practices*
  • Digital health webinars*
  • My Health Record connection guide for AHPRA-registered professions
  • My Health Record connection guide for self-regulated professions
  • Connection guide to secure messaging
  • Telehealth guide for allied health professionals

*These resources target specific professions but contain general information that will be relevant to a range of allied health professionals.

 


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