My Health Record explained: do you need one?

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Introduced in Australia in 2012, the e-health record was established to provide doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers with a digital summary of your personal medical history. Despite the scheme costing more than $1 billion to set up, only one in 10, or around 2.5 million Australians had an e-health record this time last year. So, should you get one? Here’s what you need to know.

Who can access your information?
My Health Record is an opt-in service designed to give doctors, hospitals, physiotherapists, nurses and other health professionals access to essential information in order to provide Australians with the best possible care. You can control what goes into it and who can access it. 

What are the benefits?
My Health Record is convenient for you and for your doctor, as it can be viewed securely anywhere and anytime, including if you travel or move interstate. If you have an internet connection, you can access your health information. This means you won’t have to remember details about your medical history, such as immunisation dates and medical test results. Having an e-health record adds a layer of safety to your treatment, since it allows healthcare providers to quickly access your medical information and provide the best possible care. Information about allergies, adverse reactions and medical conditions means you’ll receive better advice and treatment. The e-health record doesn’t replace existing records about your medical information. Doctors will still be able to keep their own notes.

Is it secure?
Strict regulations about who can view your My Health Record means your health information is protected from misuse or loss. In March last year, former Health Minister Sussan Ley said the Government was particularly focused on protecting patient privacy. Patients have ultimate control over who accesses their information, including adding extra password protections. You’ll also be able to prevent access to specific GPs or hospitals, view every person who has opened the record, and delete unwanted files. Fines of up to half a million dollars and even jail sentences apply to anyone who deliberately misuses or wrongfully accesses information in the health record.

What’s included in your My Health Record?
Your e-health record can include:

  • a doctor’s written record
  • prescribed medicines
  • specialist and referral documents
  • allergies and adverse reactions
  • immunisation history
  • diagnostic imaging reports (such as ultrasound or x-ray results)
  • pathology results (like blood tests)
  • hospital admittance and discharge information
  • Medicare claims history
  • Indigenous, veteran and Australian defence force status
  • decisions about organ donation
  • requests about your healthcare if you become too unwell to communicate (e.g. a ‘living will’ or ‘advanced care planning’ documents)
  • emergency contact details.

How to register
You can sign up for your e-health record:

  • online via the My Health Record website
  • over the phone by calling 1800 723 471 (option 1)
  • in person at a Medicare service centre
  • by filling in a registration form, available from a Medicare service centre
  • by asking your healthcare provider to assist you.

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Written by ameliath


Total Comments: 11
  1. 0

    I activated mine, and told my Doctor etc etc, but when I check there are many missing incidents/treatments,tests. I does not seem a very accurate system when it only contains part of my history.

  2. 0

    Most doctors have refused to back this system because of the very real threat of loss of patient privacy. Up to now it has been an ‘opt in ‘ system. However at the last COAG meeting, it was agreed by all states to make this an ‘opt – out’ system. All very well until you then notice the newspaper article of how insurance companies are now requesting access to ALL medical records via myHealth. Currently they can only request medical records that directly relate to any claim. If this consent is granted it means that ALL your health records will be laid open to insurance companies and they will be able trawl through them at will (think what that might mean – mental health issues 20 years ago may mean that a mental health issue today will not be covered for treatment, that abortion you had 15 years ago may preclude you from IVF today). And there are a list of others who also want access to that information. Are you willing to give it? If you opt in, you opt in boots and all. You cannot pick and choose what information is logged there.

  3. 0

    No, we do not need a Health Record because the medical professionals do not use it. They neither enter nor check information on the Health Record.

    • 0

      Sonny, that has been my experience and I completely agree with you. For me, I was asked by a helpful public servant if I wanted an electronic one, one that could be accessed by hospitals and doc the country over. No hospital yet but NO doctor has ever even mentioned it. I transferred all my records from the last doctor ……. and they don’t look at them, how do I know??????? because the bloody fools ask me. Six years of uni. They didn’t learn much if anything.
      Personally I think it was a way to get people to use this mygov site. That site for me is a dud (every time , say 8, that I have attempted to get in I have to reset my password. Yep, EVERY TIME).
      Soooooooooo, whoever dreamed up mygov and electronic medical records, not only did they get it really wrong BUT the centralisation of personal info is just massively closer.
      Don’t believe me. Prove me wrong oh wise ones. Goodbye.

  4. 0

    Do so at your own peril.

  5. 0

    I set mine up, but didn’t get to do the same for my husband as I thought that the whole thing was suspended. Our Doctor wasn’t very interested.

  6. 0

    Not always accurate. Have shifted a few times and needed to obtain my medical records for various surgeries, Information not always correct. Some doctors do not like the sysem

  7. 0

    The comment on the attached article says “My Health Record is an opt-in service”. That is not so as later comments confirm.
    As to the level of security and safety, we have seen that even the most profitable companies cannot resist “sharing” (selling) your information….think Google, Facebook etc. This will end up all over the place, for the wrong reasons.

    After a lifetime of working with data and data professionals, I concurred with comments about the risks in discussion with my doctor.

    On the other hand, I would like to see the private practice of medical data being “archived” and placed beyond your reach.

  8. 0

    For those who are not happy with the ‘opt-out’ option or the way it has been handled here is a petition:…38i2_YM4T6S4HbzsSkvS9Q.0.c6rnGlxKQ7KhvMbCP4FQxQ.2&utm_term=384258



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