Digital health proving excellent for Pilbara community

Alongside the Australian Digital health Agency, WA Primary Health Alliance is supporting better connected health care, transition of care and digital health literacy in regional Western Australia.

As one of the three key delivery partners of the national initiative, Digital Health Communities of Excellence, WAPHA is working to embed digital health capabilities across Port Hedland.

A key component of this work is connecting all healthcare providers in Port Hedland to the national My Health Record system and helping consumers make the best use of it.

Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation Senior Medical Officer Yolande Knight said this work had been invaluable.

“We rely on My Health Record to keep us updated on patient pathology, imaging, medication, dispensing and history records,” she said.

“We find it particularly helpful because a lot of our patients are transient, moving from one practice to another, so it can be difficult to get their comprehensive files.

“With My Health Record we can see what other doctors have requested and performed, overcoming the delays waiting for records requested from other practices. We can also see what scripts were dispensed.”

Other important initiatives include a digital literacy program run for Port Hedland residents to empower them to take advantage of the benefits of digital health and Hedland’s Pharmacy 777 recently becoming the first in the Pilbara to dispense an electronic script.

WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team Leader Simon Benge said the learnings from Port Hedland would eventually be used to create a toolkit that can be replicated across Australia.

“The expansion of digital health technologies has the capacity to help prevent illness, reduce the burden of chronic disease management and promote wellbeing,” he said.

“This work aims to empower the consumer to take control of their own health, which we know can ultimately improve health outcomes.”

Communities of Excellence is part of the digitally enhanced models of care priority in Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy, which was agreed by all states and territories in 2017.