What is My Health Record?
My Health Record is a secure online summary of your personal health information. An initiative of the federal government supported by the My Health Records Act 2012, it’s a voluntary national system that provides access to every Australian’s health information with the aim of:
- Reducing the fragmentation of health information.
- Improving the availability and quality of that information.
- Reducing the occurrence of adverse medical events and the duplication of treatment.
- Improving the coordination and quality of healthcare by healthcare providers.
The benefits of having a My Health Record include:
- Better quality of care. All your important health information is stored in the one place online where it can be easily accessed by your doctors, specialists or hospital and used to provide you with the most suitable treatment and care.
- An accurate health history. You won’t have to resort to memory to recall your family’s medical history (eg, immunisations or medical tests).
- A potential lifesaver. It could save your life in an accident or emergency where timely intervention and treatment is crucial.
What is happening after the 2017/18 Budget?
My Health Record is a voluntary service that you do not have to participate in. However, the Australian government announced in the 2017 Budget that starting in mid-2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian.
This means that if you don’t already have a My Health Record, a new record will automatically be created for you, unless you choose not to opt out.
You have until 15th November 2018 to decide whether you’d like to opt in or out.
The case for opting in
There are good reasons to opt in. First, it will make going to the doctor a better experience. As doctors can share patient data with ease, it’s hoped that there will be a reduction in adverse drug events, a better picture of your treatment history and other positive outcomes for patients.
One of the other arguments from the opt-in camp is that the decision itself to either opt in or out is forcing Australians to take an active role in their healthcare.
The case for opting out
The argument for opting out is firmly pinned around one key point - privacy.
Many people in the opt-out camp point to a general lack of faith in the security of the system. My health record suddenly puts the systems of both the government's servers and every GP clinic under immense security pressure which many claim they are not ready for.
The decision to go for an opt-out over an opt-in model has also come under some scrutiny, with every Australian set to get a My Health Record unless they opt out - while many still seem unclear as to what the record means.
How do you opt out?
If you are looking to opt out, you’ll need to head over to the My Health Record website and click on the “Opt out now” button. From there you’ll be directed to a step-by-step form.
Next, you’ll be asked to enter your personal details and verify your identity, so make sure you have your driver's licence, ImmiCard or passport handy, along with your Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) or Medicare card.
How do I register?
For now, to register a My Health Record, you will need to create a myGov account or log into an existing myGov account. Many people already have a myGov account for accessing government services online such as the ATO and Centrelink. If you do, all you need to do is log in and link to the My Health Record service as well.
Apps you can connect
As well as the myGov website, it’s also possible to interact with your My Health Record via mobile app, which allows you to view your health information from your mobile device.
Apps that are currently authorised to connect with My Health Record include:
- Healthi. Healthi is an app from Chamonix Health Solutions that gives you convenient access to your family’s health records to help you monitor their healthcare needs. It allows you to access summary health information such as allergies, illnesses, medications, recent doctor’s visits and more.
- My Child's eHealth Record. My Child's eHealth Record is an app from the Australian Digital Health Agency that allows you to keep track of your child’s health information, developments and immunisations all in the one place.
How many people use My Health Record?
If you decide to register for a My Health Record account, you will find yourself in good company. Nearly 20% of the Australian population is already registered (more than 4.8 million people) and it’s estimated that a new account is being created approximately every 38 seconds.
Almost 10,000 healthcare providers are now connected and more than 2 million clinical documents and 9.5 million prescriptions and dispense records have already been uploaded. This shows that the aims of the My Health Records Act 2012, which are to improve the availability and quality of health information, are well on their way to fruition.
2018 My Health Record Survey Results
A finder.com.au survey of 2,033 Australian adults, found that 28% – the equivalent of 5.4 million people – have no idea what the My Health Record is or what it means for them.
Key findings from the survey included:
- Over one in four Australians have no idea what the My Health Record is, according to research from finder.com.au.
- The younger generations are the most likely to have no idea what the My Health Record is, with 29% of Generation Y saying they’re clueless.
- This is compared to Baby Boomers, where only a fifth (20%) are confused.