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Making Health Better
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Mackay pharmacist urges others to get on board with digital health records

All too often, it can be challenging for a pharmacist to determine a treatment method for a patient based on very little or no knowledge at all of their previous health history.

Working as a Consultant Pharmacist between various pharmacies in the Mackay region, Karalyn Huxhagen has for years witnessed firsthand just how beneficial digital health records can be.

Karalyn recently spoke with Northern Queensland Primary Health Network about her experiences with My Health Record and why she believes it is an extremely valuable tool when delivering prompt, accurate and efficient health care to the community.

Being a part of the My Health Record Opt-Out Trial in northern Queensland in 2016, Karalyn was an early adopter of the My Health Record system and has been an active user ever since.

“Having access to a patient’s key health information through My Health Record is extremely useful,” Karalyn said.

“It provides a platform where I can gain clarity of a patient’s journey and management plan all in the one place.

“As a pharmacist, I am working fairly blind when it comes to a patient’s important information.

“Often all I will receive from a patient is their GP referral which can sometimes contain a lot of useful information, or none at all.

“When attempting to unravel the reasons behind prescribing a certain medication to a patient, My Health Record proves to be a vital tool as the clues are all there.”

Karalyn says that My Health Record reduces the time she spends calling practices and requesting information about the patient standing in front of her.

“I believe the most valuable bit of information that I regularly access using a patient’s My Health Record are discharge summaries and specialist letters as these give me prompt and clear information about the patient’s journey before they walked into the pharmacy,” she said.

“I speak to many patients and community members about the importance of uploading important documents that are provided to them by their GP such as Home Medicine Review notes.

“I recently visited a patient in his home after he had been discharged from the hospital due to suffering from a heart attack.

“Using his home computer, he was able to easily log into his My Health Record on his own, view his hospital discharge summary, recent PBS data, and pathology details all in the one place.

“My Health Record gave this patient access to the same information that I would have access to as his pharmacist, ensuring we were both on the same page and no time during the consultation was wasted attempting to fill in the gaps.

“I sat down with him and we went through any questions that he had after he had read his discharge notes displayed on his My Health Record, followed by going through his discharge medication.

“Whilst speaking with this patient based on the information accessible on his My Health Record, I was able to provide him with information relevant to his care, feedback on the treatment options, and formulate a recommendation to the GP.

“To make informed relevant recommendations is the mainstay of my working day. This man is no IT guru but as he has multiple prescribers and interventions he knows these tools give him control.”

Karalyn says she has absolute confidence in using the My Health Record system and recommends other health professionals to get on board if they haven’t already.

“I believe My Health Record has changed the way in which I interact with my patients as I can now see the reasons for diagnosis and for prescribing the medication, allowing me to confidently give informed advice.”

If you’d like to know more about My Health Record, visit MyHealthRecord.gov.au or call 1800 723 471.