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Healthcare providers turn to My Health Record to support stranded Australians during bushfire

Photo of a female healthcare provider standing in front of a fire truck

My Health Record played an important role in supporting continuity of care during Australia's bushfire crisis from late 2019 through early 2020, when many residents had to flee their homes. Being able to access patient information contained in My Health Record meant pharmacists and hospital staff had the details they needed to provide medicine to those affected.

The bushfires in New South Wales posed a serious threat to the locals and visitors in Huskisson and surrounding towns. Many found themselves stranded without their regular medicines and prescriptions, which was particularly difficult for people dependent on anti-epileptic medicines, insulin, anti-depressants and preventative asthma inhalers.

Paul Smith, a local pharmacist in Huskisson, was able to dispense medications to both locals and visitors trapped in the town by bushfires.

“Having access to My Health Record certainly helped me a great deal during this unprecedented time, as I was able to ensure a continuity of care in a safe and legal fashion. The main hurdle I faced was assisting patients who had chosen to opt out of the My Health Record system. It is an extremely bad situation to be in when there were no local surgeries open, the roads to the closest public hospital were closed, and the person had nothing to show you that they are normally prescribed.”