Health Agenda

Research & Insights

An app that could improve how you communicate with healthcare professionals

When it comes to sharing medical information, it’s an important balance between privacy and communication with the right healthcare professionals. Here’s how one app could help to get better results for the whole family.

Personal medical information is a sensitive matter. Although privacy is an important consideration when it comes to yours and your family’s health records, when it’s time to go to the doctor or another medical specialist, accurate and timely communication of your medical history can help them provide more informed and better care.

There are many Australians who are looking after the health of their whole family – whether that’s their children, elderly relatives, or both. Staying on top of everyone’s medical information and making sure it’s properly communicated with the right people at the right time can be challenging. Particularly in emergency situations – it’s easy to forget prescription information, the dates of previous health checks, and other information that a medical specialist might need to access.

A major challenge in healthcare is keeping everyone in your care team informed about how you’re progressing with other medical professionals. This flow of communication is often made more difficult because each practitioner keeps their own records private.

So what does good communication in healthcare look like?

The evolution of digital healthcare is helping to remove some of the challenges from this process, to help individuals and families strike a balance between privacy and efficiency when it comes to sharing their medical records.

We’ve partnered with Snug Health to make managing and sharing the health information of your whole family easier.

A tool to improve healthcare communication

Like many Australians, Peter has multiple chronic diseases and finds it difficult to keep on top of his health. He struggles to remember all of his health readings, appointments and specialists, but has to recall the information to various medical professionals.

As Peter says, one of the best ways to take control of your health is to be “armed with your own medical records”. This gives clarity for him, his family, and his medical professionals.

The Snug app keeps track of your medical history, procedures, vaccinations, health insurance, medications and even fitness stats, all in one place. When you’re at an appointment and medical professionals are asking you lots of questions, you can simply pull out your mobile and open the app, where all your information is ready to go.

You can choose to connect your personal Snug app to My Health Record, an online summary of key health information that was launched by the Australian Government. This gives professionals involved in your care, like GPs and specialists, clarity around your results, medications and overall health.

How is My Health Record used in healthcare?

My Health Record is an electronic summary of your key health information that can be shared securely between registered healthcare providers. Through this online summary, medical professionals can view information added by other professionals who’ve been involved in your care. They can also add data like prescription records, discharge summaries, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports.

As a patient, you can control what information goes into your My Health Record and which organisations have access to it. As part of the effort to keep your information secure and to make sure you’re in control of who can see it, if you want the details of an appointment to be stored in My Health Record, you need to ask your doctor or medical specialist to do so.

How to connect Snug to My Health Record

When you download Snug, you’re given the option to connect the app with your My Health Record. In the app, you’ll be prompted to link your My Health Record, or you can click the My Health Record button on the main dashboard. Simply follow the prompts and consent process and, once your details are confirmed, you’ll see a message letting you know that your record has been successfully set up.

Your records will usually be available in the app in a matter of days, allowing you to view past results, prescriptions, test results, and even old records. Medical professionals who you choose to share your data with can see the information and use this to make more informed decisions about your care.

To keep you safe, Snug can be set up to send SMS alerts to emergency contacts in the case of abnormal activity – for instance, if you’ve connected your app with your blood glucose monitor, and it starts to show unusual results.

First published November 2021

Try Snug now

HCF members have access to a free customised Snug app subscription*, which includes:

  • the option to connect with My Health Record#
  • access to your family’s health information through the Circle of Care function, so that you have their information available at all times and in emergency situations
  • the ability to integrate with personal health devices and track your health and wellbeing over a period of time
  • deeper insights into your health and wellbeing through a digital health check questionnaire and a range of personalised HCF wellbeing resources^ through a virtual coach+.

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Important Information

*All HCF members above the age of 14, who hold any HCF health insurance product (excluding Overseas Visitors Health Cover) are eligible for access to a customised Snug app at no cost until 30 June 2022. HCF may choose to continue to pay the cost after 30 June 2022, but if not your account will revert to the standard offer and charges will apply. Members can downgrade to the Snug Lite version at no charge.

^Participation in Health and Wellbeing programs is subject to eligibility criteria.

+This is not intended for medical emergency situations. This is not a diagnostic service and does not replace a consultation with a health professional.

#There may be a waiting period of up to 48 hours before your My Health Record appears in the Snug app.