Digital Health Literacy
There is a National Digital Health Strategy and its vision is “Better health for all Australians enabled by seamless, safe, secure digital health services and technologies that provide a range of innovative, easy to use tools for both patients and providers.”
This is great news for carers because a lot of health information for yourself and the person you care for can now be accessed digitally (online) easily and securely.
Where to start
A good place to start is to create a ‘digital identity’. A digital identity is a safe and secure way to prove who you are online every time you access government services. Your ‘digital identity’ is created by myGovID. They verify your identity using key information from documents like your passport, Medicare card or driver’s licence. When verifying your identity, your details are checked against existing government records to prove your identity. It is like when you provide information for getting a new licence or other government service.
To set up a ‘digital identity’ visit myGovID.
What can I access online?
There are many platforms through which you can access services and information digitally. Including Telehealth, myGov and Electronic Prescriptions.
Information about digital health platforms you can access
Some of the services you can link to and use via your myGov account include:
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- My Aged Care
- My Health Record
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
To find out more, create a myGov account or link services visit:
My Health Record is a safe and secure place to keep your key health information and is available to you and your healthcare providers whenever it’s needed, including in an emergency. It includes key health information like immunisations, pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, prescription and dispensing information, hospital discharge summaries and more, all in one place.
The key benefits of creating a My Health Record include:
- Fast access to key health information in an emergency
- Secure and convenient access to health information
- Safer, faster more efficient care for the person you care for
- Less need for you, as a carer, to remember key aspects of medical history and medications
- Improved management of health information
- Informed self-management of health conditions
If you don’t already have a My Health Record, you can register for one at any time. This includes if you have previously opted out or cancelled your record. You can register for a My Health Record through myGov or by completing an application form.
More information about My Health Record and carers can be found here.
Your medicines can be prescribed using an electronic prescription. An electronic prescription is a digital version of your paper prescription which is given to you by the doctor via an SMS or email. As a carer, the person you are caring for can forward the message to you so that you can collect the medicine. They can also nominate to have the electronic prescription sent straight to you from their healthcare provider.
Once the electronic prescription is received, you can show your pharmacist on your device or you can send it to them. If you have repeats, a new SMS or email will be sent to you. The Australian Digital Health Agency has recorded a helpful podcast episode on Electronic Prescriptions here.
Through electronic prescriptions, a person can also have an Active Script List set up with their pharmacist to help manage multiple medications.
To find out more about electronic prescriptions talk to your doctor or pharmacist, visit the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Telehealth is when a patient uses a phone or a video call to consult with a health professional. This may include a GP, specialist, nurse practitioner, Aboriginal Health Worker or allied health service. This is not intended to replace essential visits to the doctor or health professional, but rather be a convenient solution for when you or the person you care for can’t see a doctor ‘face to face’.
In many cases, a person can access telehealth with the support of Medicare, however, patients need to have an existing clinical relationship with their GP telehealth provider to meet eligibility requirements.
It is important to keep in mind that Telehealth has changed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and you should check you are able to continue to access this service with your chosen service provider.
To find out more about telehealth services visit:
Help to improve your digital health literacy
We get it! Accessing information and services digitally can be overwhelming if you are not currently as “technology savvy” as you would like. There are initiatives and facilities that can help you improve your digital literacy so you can confidently and safely access health services for you and the person you care for.
- Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. You can also call the helpline on 1300 795 897 (9am-5pm, AEST/AEDT Sydney) to find a community organisation partner in your local area.
- Public libraries often provide access to Wi-Fi, computers, laptops and tablets. For information on public libraries visit the Australian Public Library Alliance.
- Good Things Foundation Australia’s Your Health in Your Hands is a health digital inclusion program that supports people aged over 18 years to gain the essential digital skills and confidence to manage their health and wellbeing.
- Telstra’s Tech Savvy Seniors helps build the skills and confidence to use computers, tablets and smartphones. It includes face-to-face training, how-to guides and training materials in over 14 languages.
- Stay Safe Online provides information on how to protect yourself, your family and your devices with tips and resources.
- The Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner also provides resources for online safety and protecting your privacy.