The oversight body for Australia's My Health Record is expecting the modernisation of the country's health infrastructure will be a further "catalyst" for accelerating the use of the online medical file.
Speaking with media on Tuesday, Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) acting national health chief information officer Kerri Burden said the number of documents viewed within My Health Record has this year increased.
"In 2020, the number of documents viewed each week at public hospitals has increased to more than 100,000," she said. "This is showing that when information is being uploaded into the My Health Record system that the information is then being viewed.
"My Health Record use is growing, modernisation of our national infrastructure will be a further catalyst for accelerating this growth."
Burden said 96% of public hospitals are connected to the record, with 94% of those using it.
"This means that healthcare providers are accessing this information when they need it and its often information that the patient doesn't need to have with them at the time," she added.
As of October 2020, there were 22.85 million My Health Records, an increase of 300,000 since July 2019.
19.9 million of those records have information in them and there is a total of 2.38 billion documents uploaded to My Health Record, this comprises over 95 million clinical documents, 175 million medicine documents, 2.1 billion Medicare documents, and 335,000 documents labelled as "consumer".
Public hospitals uploaded 427,000 items that were viewed by others in the sector; 415,000 items that were uploaded by "others" were viewed by hospital staff.
The ADHA is tasked with increasing the pace of digital adoption, which Burden said is really around finding key barriers for consumers and healthcare providers.
The agency has kicked off a program in an attempt to modernise the national digital health infrastructure. According to the agency, the program aims to better connect Australia's healthcare system and deliver improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare.
The National Infrastructure Modernisation (NIM) program is centred on what a digital health ecosystem could be over the next decade, ADHA said. It sits alongside Australia's National Digital Health Strategy, published in August 2017, and the connections between state and territory government services.
"Accelerating the adoption of digital systems and enhancements to system content will encourage greater use and multiply those benefits," Burden said. "But it's not a big bang approach."
ADHA hopes the program will deliver three outcomes for Australian healthcare providers and patients: A secure and sustainable digital infrastructure with improved ability to innovate and expand future capabilities and services nationally; ensure that digital health needs for all users are further progressed through a modern, future-proofed seamless digital platform; and ensure that the benefits of digital health technologies and services supported by the national infrastructure are realised for consumers and clinicians, leading to improved health and wellbeing for all Australians.