Wirraka Maya Health Service embraces digital health

Thursday, 01 April, 2021

Wirraka Maya Health Service embraces digital health

Wirraka Maya Health Service, an Aboriginal community health service in Port Hedland, Western Australia, has produced record results in the use of technology to ensure better connected care for local patients.

Throughout 2020, the Wirraka Maya Health Service uploaded the ninth highest number of shared health summaries in Western Australia — a summary of a patient’s key health information — to My Health Record, and the highest number of event summaries in the state. The health service has also viewed more uploaded documents than any other primary care provider in Western Australia.

“We rely on My Health Record to keep us updated on patient pathology, imaging, medication, dispensing and history records,” Senior Medical Officer Dr Yolande Knight said. “We find it helpful because a lot of our patients are transient, moving from one region to another, so it can be difficult to get their comprehensive files.

“We can see what other doctors have requested and performed, overcoming the delays waiting for records requested from other practices and providers. Equally, we can upload and share what we’ve done, so when the patient attends elsewhere, their record is current and available to other practitioners.

“We can also see what scripts were dispensed,” Dr Knight said. “It’s invaluable that PathWest results are automatically available. This helped us a lot with recent COVID-19 test results, where at times it was quicker to see the result on the patient’s record than to join the phone queue to get the result.”

Australian Digital Health Agency Consumer Advocate, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Champion and Co-Chair of the Agency’s Reconciliation Working Group and National Medicines Safety Program, Steve Renouf, congratulated Wirraka Maya for its commitment to digital health.

“It’s great to see an Aboriginal-controlled health service leading the way in achieving outstanding results in the use of digital technology,” he said.

“This commitment to digital service delivery will continue to enhance clinical outcomes in local communities and help breach the digital divide that can disadvantage remote patients.”

Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) Public Health Medical Officer Dr Marianne Wood said, “The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) sector in WA has been a leader in the use of My Health Record and we are very proud of the great work by Wirraka Maya.

“Many ACCHS recognised, early on, the enormous potential of the record in improving the care of Aboriginal patients, particularly for those who travel widely and receive care from many different healthcare providers across this enormous state,” she said.

“AHCWA has been very active in supporting both ACCHS and the wider WA health sector in the My Health Record project, recognising that the benefit of the record is far greater when there is a collective effort. The Hedland Community of Excellence Project and the work of Wirraka Maya shows what can be achieved.”

Image courtesy of Australian Digital Health Agency

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