My Health Record brings your records from a range of health professionals into the one place online. It will include summaries of GP and hospital care, information on medications and allergies, immunisation records, medical reports and advance care plans.
You will be able to access your own record online via the MyGov website and you’ll be able to choose who you can share your records with. However, controlling your own information will require you to choose your own privacy and security settings.
The system is in the process of being rolled out across Australia and everyone will be automatically set up with My Health Record unless they opt-out by the deadline of January 31, 2019.
Yes, you choose which health providers you’d like to share your information with. You can manage your own record and add personal notes as well as upload your advance care plan and Enduring Power of Attorney information.
To control access, you will need to log into your account and set up access controls if you want to restrict who can and can’t see your information. There is also an option to set up an SMS or email notification that lets you know when a healthcare provider accesses your record.
The main argument for My Health Record is that it will provide any treating doctor with a more detailed picture of your medical history to make decisions, diagnose and provide treatment to you. This will ensure better continuity of information and could save lives in emergency situations.
This is particularly valuable if you have a chronic health condition and you may be travelling to other parts of Australia or you are living in aged care. For older Australians, another benefit is that it allows you to upload your advance plan documentation and have it easily accessible to any hospital or doctor who may be treating you.
It’s also argued that My Health Record will allow for greater transparency by giving patients access to the same information that doctors receive.
The primary argument against My Health Record is that it creates a security risk, opening up your health records to potential access and misuse by hackers, criminals and snoopers. The default setting of My Health Record allows numerous people to have access, including doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurses to name a few.
Unless you set up notifications, you won’t know who has accessed your information. And even if you do, the access-logging system will only track organisations, not individuals so you won’t know exactly who has viewed your record.
It is also argued that the records held within My Health Record can be incomplete and not up-to-date, which could jeopardise treatment rather than improve it.
If you are happy to have My Health Record you don’t need to do anything. However, once it’s set up it would be a good idea to log in to view your record and set up privacy and security settings.
To opt out of My Health Record, complete the online opt-out process by January 31, 2019. You will need your Medicare card as well as a drivers licence (or other identification) to complete the process. If you miss the deadline of January 31, 2019, and a record is created, you will still be able to cancel it after that date.
For any questions regarding My Health Record, contact the Help Line on 1800 723 471.