What is My Health Record?
My Health Record is a government initiative that provides a summary of your key health information stored online for quick and secure access between your various healthcare providers: your GP, specialists, and ER professionals. Once your My Health Record is set-up, your health information can accessed by the needed professionals tasked with your care. This information includes:
- A Shared Health Summary that can be used as a quick reference for new GPs or other healthcare providers
- Medical Conditions
- Hospital discharge summaries
- Prescribed medications
- Reports from tests and scans
You can manage your My Health Record by choosing your security and privacy settings, adding personal information such as custodian care, or advanced care plans, setting access controls to restrict who can see your information, and reviewing your health information to see firsthand the information your healthcare providers can see. You can also see which healthcare provider has viewed your record under your My Health Record access log, for easy visibility. Family members, spouses, partners, or personal carers can be personally granted access to your My Health Record if you select them as your authorized representative.
What are the benefits of My Health Record?
By creating your My Health Record, the goal is to ease communication between your healthcare providers in order to get you on track to the right treatment by providing them with instant access to the information they need to determine the best course of action without delay.
My Health Record can also be useful for those with chronic conditions who see themselves in and out of multiple hospitals over a long period of time. My Health Record will allow these patients to forego having to fill out medical history forms by providing a more accurate online record with documents already uploaded by their own previous healthcare providers. Every treatment plan, prescribed medication, and test result will then be made immediately available to their current doctor.
What are the potential risks
The main concern being voiced around the My Health Record system is the potential for a security breach that could place millions of users’ personal healthcare data at risk. To these, the Australian Digital Health Agency’s My Health Record Websites notes that there are “many safeguards are in place to protect the information held in the My Health Record system, such as strong encryption, firewalls, secure login processes and audit logging.”
Risks concerning access by police or government agencies have also been voiced. The government, along with the Australian Digital Health Agency, has since confirmed on August 1st that police and government agencies will not be permitted access to a person’s My Health Record against their will without a court order.
How do I opt out of My Health Record?
Should you decide to opt out of the My Health Record program, simply click on the following link and follow the provided instructions before October 15, 2018.
You will need to verify your identity by filling out your personal information such as name and date of birth and provide identification in the form of your Medicare card or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) card, along with a driver’s licence, passport, or ImmiCard. You may also opt out on behalf of any children listed on your Medicare card by following the instructions on the same link above. If you have opted out, you can later choose to create a My Health Record by following a registration process.
The decision is up to you
The decision of whether or not to opt out of the My Health Record program is entirely up to you. Weighing the benefits of having immediate access to a digital health record against the perceived potential risks of having your health information stored on a government database is a personal choice that may be up to your personal feelings and circumstances.
People with complex medical conditions may find the convenience of having an easily accessible log of their previous hospitalisations and treatments beneficial while others may prefer keeping their records to themselves and kept as private as possible.