Digital Health

Digital engagement and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

VACCHO has been funded to assist Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) with the implementation and support to use digital health technologies.

As part of the role out of the National Strategy for Digital Health in Australia, four technologies are available as part of the National Digital Infrastructure, to help support and enable client and service management. The technologies contribute to establishing necessary communications towards a safe & seamless patient journey across the healthcare system. They are:

My Health Record Telehealth ePrescriptions  |  Secure Messaging Services

Below outlines more information on each of these technologies.

My Health Record

VACCHO supports Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to use and connect to My Health Record – a secure online portal for your health records.
VACCHO can assist with:

  • Connecting your patient information system to enable My Health Record uploads
  • Provide an address book of other My Health Record enabled services in your area
  • Organise training for members with the Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Advocate on behalf of our members to the Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Assist with project implementation related to My Health Record
Helpful Links for our Members and ACCOs
Helpful links for Community:

Telehealth

Telehealth uses video cameras, computer screens and or phone connections to connect patients to specialists and doctors through videoconferencing and telecommunications technology.

It means patients do not have to travel away from their community to receive care, so it is quicker and less complicated than an in-person visit. Patients will be able to see, hear and talk to the health care professional over video or telecommunication conferencing.

VACCHO has been funded to increase telehealth capacity and utilisation across the ACCO sector. Telehealth provides an opportunity to improve access to services for Aboriginal people, in all regions of Victoria, reducing distance, time, and cost barriers, as well as providing the most culturally appropriate service option. Telehealth technology provides an opportunity for patients to remain in a place which they have identified as safe and accessible. Aboriginal Health Workers will be able to act as cultural brokers and ensure there is a two-way understanding between health professionals and the patient.

Below are some information resources VACCHO developed for telehealth services:

Telehealth delivering positive health outcomes

During the pandemic – Telehealth became a core digital health service embraced by VACCHO Member organisation, Bunurong Health Service. It proved to be an effective way to meet with patients and provide appropriate assessments of visible symptoms using video calls.

At Bunurong Health Service, Dr Hung the Nguyen found telehealth useful in understanding a patient’s situation when providing health monitoring and interventions, prior to escalating to emergency or specialist care.

Telehealth allowed Dr Hung the Nguyen to provide “Inspection of nose, chest movements and demeanour overall suggest a grumpy but well child.”

“Later in the day, [the child] developed a typical chicken pox rash. [The child] responded to Panadol. A very relieved mother.”

This also allowed Dr Hung the Nguyen the ability to provide clear instructions to the patient, to better understand the situation.

“I converted the telephone consult to a video one, asked mother to show me how she used the Oximeter. She did it perfectly when supervised.”

Telehealth – both in video and telephone form – are an example of digital health delivering positive health outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community across Victoria.

ePrescriptions

Digital health technologies are now emerging across all areas of health care. These technologies support and enable better, more enhanced service delivery. One area where this is occurring more is in that of Electronic prescriptions. These are prescriptions that are contained within an encrypted message on your mobile phone and sent via the clinical system. It means the script is always with the patient whenever they need it, saving time, effort and improving communications between the General Practitioner, patient, and pharmacy. In Australia, more than 26 million electronic prescriptions have been issued with more being issued every day. Patients have the choice of whether to receive a script electronically or they can choose to take the paper copy with them. The patient can only choose one format or the other, not both.

e-Scripts help practitioners, nurses and allied health care professionals manage and provide continuity of care for patients in their home or environment where they feel safe. Used in conjunction with My Health Record, Secure Messaging and Telehealth, e-script’s can provide a record of the issued medications – while My Health Record can record the changes to the medications list to ensure all members of the patient’s care team are informed and kept up to date.

e-scripts work by issuing token’s which are activated by the pharmacy when presented (scanned QR code). Once this is scanned the token is locked to prevent any other pharmacy issuing or dispensing the script again.

e-scripts links in with your clinical system and Healthcare professionals are required to abide by the National prescribing regulations in the National Health Act 1953.

For more information on e-scripts:

Secure Messaging Services

For many years clinicians have used fax, phone or email to share patient information. Using these services can put patient information at risk. Establishing a private and secure connection to be between clinicians is important so that information can be shared and protected, and patients can be reassured that their information is safe.

Sharing patient information is achieved through the use of secure messaging services or SMS – not to be confused with “Short Message Service/SMS”, a common term used for text messaging on mobile devices.

The Secure Messaging Service is built into the healthcare providers clinical information systems. For healthcare providers, sharing information in this way saves time, provides proof of sending/receiving information, ensures the clinical information travels ‘with’ the patient and is available for the next healthcare professional to use at the consultation and overall means that there is continuity of care between one healthcare provider and another. This will save the patient time in having to re-count their healthcare journey over again.

To implement secure messaging, ACCOs will need to choose a provider service that is compatible with their existing software. Once registered, the SMS software will set up a web-based portal for health care providers to interact and access the SMS service through the clinical system.
SMS requires ADSL2 and/or NBN connection to support the use of SMS however, this can be reviewed at the time of installation. Plans with unlimited data and mobile internet are recommended in the event of outages.

Secure messaging can save your health service time, money and worry of wondering if communications to other healthcare professionals have been sent, received or arrived in time for the patient’s review.

For more information including useful factsheets how to implement SMS and user guides, visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website. Members are also welcome to contact VACCHO for further assistance.

Additional resources

For more information on Digital Health -Telehealth fill out the form below or phone on 03 9411 9411 and ask to speak with the Digital Health Officer.

MEMBER ENQUIRIES

Enquiries from Members can be made by filling out and submitting the form below. Alternatively, you can email us directly members@vaccho.org.au

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