Since My Health Record’s launch in 2012, 5.9 million Australians have opted into the system. However, many have done so without fully understanding what My Health Record is. As of 15 November 2018, all Australians who have not chosen to opt out of the system will have a My Health Record automatically created for them.
In the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of blogs that will tell you all you need to know about My Health Record, explaining the positives and negatives to help you make an informed decision on whether to opt out or not. In this blog post we will aim to outline what you need to know about My Health Record and answer common questions.
What is My Health Record?
My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information. It is the most up to date summary of your health at a particular point in time written by one of your healthcare providers. Other information that can be uploaded to your My Health Record includes:
- hospital discharge summaries
- reports from tests and scans
- medications that your doctor has prescribed
- referral letters from your doctors
Who has access to My Health Record?
Other than yourself, only registered healthcare providers who are providing you with care are able to access and edit your My Health Record.
Who has control over My Health Record?
You will have control over your My Health Record once it has been created. It is up to you and your healthcare providers to populate the record. You can choose what goes on your My Health Record by telling your healthcare provider what information you do not want included and for pathology tests, there is an option to tick the ‘do not send to My Health Record’ box on test request forms.
You can also choose to add notes to your My Health Record and class them as ‘healthcare recipient-only notes’ meaning that they can only be accessed by another person with your consent.
There are laws surrounding the disclosure of certain health information that will not be uploaded to your My Health Record, for example the disclosure of a HIV or AIDS status which is protected by law in some States and Territories.
How long will My Health Record be active?
Your health information will be held within the My Health Record database for 30 years after your date of death, or if your death is unknown, 130 years from your date of birth.
Can I keep track of who has accessed my health information?
The My Health Record system includes an access log which records each time your record has been accessed. You can choose to be notified by email or SMS when a new healthcare provider accesses your record. My Health Record also allows for you to implement an access code that restricts access to your whole, or certain aspects of your record. You then have control over who has this code.
How secure is My Health Record data?
The My Health Record system has the highest level of cyber security and has been built to meet the strictest cyber security standards. It is constantly being monitored by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Healthcare providers registered to use the My Heath Record system are required to use compliant clinical software and have adequate anti-viral protections in place.
Will My Health Record be used for any other purposes?
As the law stands, there is scope for the data stored within your My Health Record to be used for non-health related purposes. We will discuss in a future blog post within this series.
If I opt out of My Health Record, can I opt in at a later date?
If you opt out before 15 November 2018, you can always opt in, but you currently cannot do the reverse. Once you have a My Health Record you can cancel your record but the information will remain within the database. Cancelling your record will stop health providers from viewing your health information.
The Minister for Health has confirmed that the legislation will be changed so you have the option to delete your information from the database.
Will I be discriminated against by my healthcare provider if I don’t have a My Health Record?
A condition of registration is that healthcare providers cannot discriminate against an individual because they do not have a My Health Record.
There are arguments both for and against opting out of the My Health System. We will discuss these arguments and explain exactly who has access to your information in upcoming blog posts.
How do you feel about My Health Record? Are there any questions you want answered in our upcoming blogs? Contact us to ask any questions on this topic.