It’s the question on the minds of most Australians as the extended opt-out period draws near – and its answer may be the key to answering the ultimate question: in, or out?
In the first blog of our My Health Record Blog Series, we provided a general run down of what you need to know about My Health Record. In this blog, the second of our series, we will go into more detail about who has access to your 'My Health Record'?
1. Registered Healthcare providers
While there are thousands of organisations registered with the My Health Record System Operator, by law, only registered healthcare provider organisations involved in your care will be allowed to access your records.
By default, all registered healthcare providers involved in your care will be able to access your records. Healthcare providers may include general practitioners, pharmacies, hospitals, allied health professionals, pathology labs or specialists.
You can limit which healthcare providers have access, however, scroll down to number 4 entitled ‘You’ for more on restricting access.
2. People Nominated by You
Individuals with a My Health Record can specifically allow others to view their record, including a family member, carer, parent or child. This can be done by logging into your My Health Record and listing someone as an authorised representative or a nominated representative.
A nominated representative must act in accordance with your will and preferences.
An authorised representative can manage a My Health Record on someone else’s behalf. That is, they can make decisions about how another person’s record is managed and how information in that individual’s record is accessed. The authorised representative must act in the best interests of the My Health Record owner.
Children and 'My Health Record'
Children will also be opted into the system if a parent or legal guardian has not opted out on their behalf by November 15. All children between the ages of 0-14 will have an authorised representative managing their record. Authorised representatives for children will usually be a parent or legal guardian.
At the age of 14, a child will be permitted to choose whether to manage their own My Health Record or allow their parent or legal guardian to continue managing their record.
At the age of 18, the child’s authorised representative will automatically lose access to the child’s record. If an individual aged 18 or over still wishes for their legal guardian to have access to their record, they must give that individual access by naming them as a nominated representative.
3. Law Enforcement and Government Agencies
As the law currently stands, data stored in your My Health Record can be disclosed to law enforcement and other government agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink. While not strictly a legal requirement, information is generally only released when the My Health Record System operator is legally compelled to do so – by way of a court order, for example.
This is set to change prior to the opt-out date, however, with new laws currently being considered that will make it mandatory for the system operator to receive a court order or the healthcare recipient’s consent before releasing information to any law enforcement or government agency – more on these proposed security changes in an upcoming blog.
It is expected that My Health Record data will be used for public health and research purposes from 2020. It is likely that the data used for research will be de-identified. Researchers hoping to use identified data will need to gain consent from the individual.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will have access to, and control of your My Health Record, including which documents are added or removed from your record.
By logging onto your My Health Record through MyGov you can view which healthcare providers have accessed your record. You can also set up automatic notifications to receive an SMS or email each time a new healthcare organisation accesses your record for the first time, or during an emergency.
You will also be able to restrict access to selected healthcare organisations, specific documents, or selected individuals including family members or carers. This can be done by creating access codes and giving those codes to healthcare providers or individuals.
Up next in our My Health Record Blog Series: My Health Record Security Changes Expected