My Health Record launches Rapid Access Cardiology Clinic testing

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The Australian Digital Health Agency is partnering with the University of Sydney on a pilot study into the use of My Health Record in Rapid Access Cardiology care.

The pilot will investigate how My Health Record can support the management of low to intermediate risk chest pain patients through the Rapid Access Cardiology Clinic (RACC) model. It will initially be based at Westmead Hospital in Sydney.

RACCs are outpatient clinics, located within hospitals, that provide prompt assessment and management of chest pain. Led by cardiologists, the clinics function to reduce the number of patients experiencing chest pain attending NSW hospitals.

The pilot aims to enhance the quality, safety and efficiency of cardiology services and could be scaled to roll out across the country.

"It is expected that this study will yield lower rates of hospital readmissions and avoid a rise in major adverse cardiac events, such as heart attacks," said the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) in a statement.

"Furthermore, the pilot, may also help to develop targeted cardiovascular disease prevention programs including lifestyle modifications to address common risk factors such as high blood pressure."

As part of the pilot, clinicians will access a person’s My Health Record when they present to the Rapid Access Cardiology Clinic at Westmead Hospital and draw on the relevant information to make quicker diagnoses and treatment decisions.

“Our study aims to provide greater accessibility to the information needed to better treat all Australians suffering chest pain, and to safely divert people with non‐acute chest pain from being admitted to hospital,” said Professor Clara Chow, Professor of Medicine, Academic Director, Westmead Applied Research Centre, at University of Sydney.

“Australia’s Health 2018 report revealed heart disease was the single leading cause of death in 2018 with 170 Australians aged 25 years and over having a heart attack every day. Last month we discovered more than two-thirds of Australian adults have risk factors for heart disease," said Heart Foundation’s general manager of Heart Health and Research, Bill Stavreski.

"Statistics like these remind us of the importance of looking after our heart health and My Health Record provides Australians with a place to store all-important records regarding your heart history and preferred treatment methods.” 

The test bed will explore how My Health Record can support risk stratification of patients referred to the RACC, reduce duplicate testing, and support communication among healthcare providers via the system’s shared healthy summary function.

The study will attempt to understand and address existing barriers to the seamless flow of information along the patient journey and among healthcare providers. The results will be used to scope the feasibility of an innovative, cardiology-specific application that is populated with information from My Health Record to optimise patient care.

“We need all Australians to be aware of the prevalence of heart disease and the work left to do in improving our heart health. This program is a great example of how we can use digital technologies to meet this goal and deliver better health outcomes to all Australians,” said ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey.

When appropriate, patients who attend a RACC may be given a management plan and allowed to go home without having to enter the hospital, saving emergency medical staff from admitting patients, organising urgent cardiologist assessments in the community and referring to general practitioners.