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My Health Record scheme now underway

By the end of 2018 every Australian will have a digital health record – My Health Record – unless they choose to opt out by 15 October.

Nearly six million Australians now have a My Health Record, a summary of their key health information, which can include information about allergies, medical conditions, treatments, medicines and test reports.

The scheme is being administered by the Australian Digital Health Agency, which says individuals can cancel their My Health Record at any time or create one if they previously opted out. You can also restrict access to specific healthcare providers or documents.

The aim of the My Health Record scheme is to collate a person’s health records in one place, making it easier for people to share information with their various healthcare providers.

If you would like to opt out of the My Health Record system, contact the Australian Digital Health Agency by 15 October.

Healthcare workers’ access to patient information

According to the Australian Digital Health Agency July statistics, 12,860 healthcare organisations, including more than 800 public hospitals and health services, 126 of them in Victoria – and 178 private hospitals, are now connected with the My Health Record system. More than 6400 general practice organisations, 3233 pharmacies and 187 aged care services were also connected with the system.

Healthcare professionals working for organisations connected with the My Health Record scheme can access patients’ My Health Record information such as:

  • shared health summaries (which include medications, medical history, allergies and immunisations)
  • event summaries (including information about a significant healthcare event)
  • MBS and PBS history
  • medication prescription and dispense records
  • previous hospital discharge summaries, and
  • advance care planning documents and custodian information
  • hospital discharge summaries.

Find out if your hospital is connected to the ‘My Health Record’ system. Addressing privacy, the Australian Digital Health Agency states: ‘In any online platform, including the My Health Record system, there are inherent risks when transmitting and storing personal information. Despite this,we are committed to protecting your personal information, and ensuring its privacy, accuracy and security.’ But some law academics have warned there are inherent privacy risks in having a My Health Record.