My Health Record

19 Jul 2018

With the start of the opt-out period, 16 July to 15 October 2018, GPs may find patients have questions about the value and security of having a My Health Record. Having a My Health Record will enable patients to keep track of their health care and provide treating practitioners with access to key information regarding existing conditions, medications, allergies, tests conducted etc to inform their care. With robust multi-tiered security controls in place the My Health Record provides a high level of protection. Plus, individuals have absolute control over what data is in their record, and who can view it.

The best source of information for patients is on the My Health Record website. In the mean-time the following information from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) might be a helpful.  

What is a My Health Record?

A My Health Record is simply an electronic repository of a patient’s clinical information uploaded by the patient’s health practitioners at key points of the patient’s treatment or care. Individuals have absolute control over what data is in their record, and who can view it.

The My Health Record is not new – a previous version has existed for four years but patients had to be proactive and opt into it to create their own My Health Record.

The government decided to change this around and shift to an opt out model instead. This means, a My Health Record will be created for everyone eligible for Medicare unless they opt out during the opt out period.

What if I don’t opt-out now? 

Even if a person does not opt out by 15 October 2018 they can still opt out after this date. It just means the Government will have created a My Health Record shell (with no content) for them and they can use this if ever they decide to opt back in later. The decision to participate is entirely up to individuals. If a patient wants to opt out they can do this by calling 1800 723 471 or visiting the My Health Record website.

If a patient already had a My Health Record before the start of the opt out period – they just continue to use this Record and they can cancel their participation at any time.

When will content be added to a My Health Record that is set up by the Government during the opt out period

If a patient does not opt out during the opt out period they will have a My Health Record created for them. This record will have no content until it is activated. Activation occurs when the patient logs in for the first time, or when a healthcare provider accesses the record during treatment.

Once a patient logs into their My Health Record, two years of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data will be uploaded to the My Health Record – unless the patient chooses not to include this. The patient’s immunisation history and organ donation decisions are also uploaded to the Record. Patients can add personal notes, advanced care documentation and allergy information plus any other non-PBS medicines information.

Further information:

This video from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) highlights the benefits of a My Health Record to patient care and may be useful of GPs and patients alike.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), which is the independent regulator for the privacy aspects of the My Health Record system, has developed some new FAQs and updated fact sheets to help inform consumers about their choice to opt-out and how to protect their health information, which GPs could refer their patients to. The ADHA’s news story My Health Record opt-out period has commenced has all the information.

Patient’s wanting more information should be referred to the ADHA’s website or can call the My Health Record Help Line on 1800 723 471.