My Health Record

Making an informed decision

My Health Records provides a one stop electronic file where consumers and health services providers can upload and access personal and health information about shared patients.

The My Health Record system is not new. Many people with ongoing or severe health issues have previously opted to sign up to the system.

As of July 2018, My Health Record has changed to an ‘opt out’ system. This means that since July, Australians’ Medicare, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) health records for the past two years will automatically be uploaded into the My Health Record data base without requiring any action by consumers.

My Health Record has the potential to ease the burden of keeping track of medical histories, medication and health care planning for those accessing health care and for carers.

The Australian Digital Health Agency is the System Operator of the My Health Record.

To create a My Health Record the Agency will collect, use and disclose personal information about the person signing up and dependants (if any). This information will include personal data like names, date of birth, and address. This information is collected from and disclose it to Medicare or the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) (if relevant) and the Health Identifiers (HI) Service Operator to confirm patient identity and that of dependants. The Agency may also disclose personal information to the Document Verification Service to confirm patient identity.

Users of My Health Record have an (online) option to set access controls, but if the controls are not selected, personal information in My Health Record will be disclosed to registered healthcare providers and patient representatives (ie: carers), including for the purposes of providing healthcare.

Data Security

Getting Data into My Health Record.

Healthcare providers can upload information to their patients’ digital record. The Australian Government strongly encourages individuals, business and organisations to take steps to ensure they provide safe and secure digital health services. However, it is the business that is responsible for ensuring that the systems you use to access the My Health Record system are secure.

Consumer Driven Data Security:

Healthcare consumers link their My Health Record to their myGov account. Accessing record requires a password, and either an answer to a secret question or an access code. There are additional access controls that the consumer may set to limit access to the entire record, or specific documents within their record.

Therefore a certain amount of digital literacy is required (and assumed) to complete data security across all system access points.

Mobile App to manage My Health Record

Consumers may opt to use a mobile App to manage their My Health Record by downloading one of the authorised app. Information regarding which apps are recommended is available via this website: https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/for-you-your-family/howtos/view-my-record-using-app   An app or portal operator is bound to comply with the obligations set out in the My Health Record Act for a Portal Operator, including not transferring

Exercising your Right to Choose

My Health Record provides a handy centralised electronic health record which may serve many health professionals and consumers well. However, people have the right to choose to continue managing access to their health care and their personal information as before.

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) CEO Alison Verhoeven said that opt out provides a suitable and appropriate balance between the clinician’s need for information and the patient’s right to privacy.

Therefore, you can opt out and exclude personal and health information from a central My Health Record database.

If you decide that opting out may be the right thing for you, then you can do so only from 16th  July to 15th October 2018.

During the opt out period individuals who do not want a record will be able to opt out by visiting the My Health Record website www.myhealthrecord.gov.au  or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone based assistance.

After that period of time, opting out is possible but will only archive – not delete – any existing information.

Consumers can at any point in the future decide to opt in (either by re-activating an archived existing record, or as a new participant) which may become a positive choice to make when health or personal circumstances change.

Marianne Lewis

Senior Policy, Projects and Carer Engagement Officer