Opt-out date for My Health Record announced

Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Opt-out date for My Health Record announced

All Australians will have a My Health Record unless they choose to opt out during a three-month period between 16 July and 15 October 2018.

The My Health Record system and opt-out process is supported by all state and territory governments, who unanimously agreed to this plan in August 2017 at COAG Health Council.

My Health Record also has unanimous support from Australia’s peak health bodies, including the Australian Medical Association, the Royal College of Australian General Practitioners, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and the Consumers Health Forum.

Protecting privacy

The My Health Record system has been designed with strong safeguards in place to protect the health data. It is also subject to some of the strongest legislation in the world to prevent unauthorised use.

Australians can cancel their My Health Record at any time after the end of the opt-out period — or create one, if they opted out.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said My Health Record enables important health information including allergies, medical conditions, treatments, medicines and test reports to be securely shared between clinicians and their patients. It also enables people to take more control of their own health and wellbeing, manage their children’s health and upload key documents, like advanced care directives.

“My Health Record provides many benefits to patients, including reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions,” Minister Hunt said.

Currently, 5.7 million people have a My Health Record and they can access their health information at any time online.

Engaging the community

A national communications strategy will be implemented to inform all Australians of the benefits of digital health, and to explain the opt-out process. 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 or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance.

Forms will be provided on request, and additional support will be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy and those living in rural and remote regions.

The Australian Digital Health Agency is partnering with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and its state affiliates to raise awareness of My Health Record with healthcare providers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and to provide on-the-ground support for individuals who choose to opt out.

Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks will also support their local communities with tailored communications on My Health Record, in partnership with consumer and clinical peak bodies and state and territory governments. The benefits will be explained for audiences in both health and non-health settings including GP practices, pharmacies, hospitals, as well as corporate and consumer contexts.

Consolidating data

After the three-month opt-out phase, one month will be required to reconcile the data and to finalise processing of paper opt-out forms received from Australians living in remote and rural locations, and from people who do not have access to a computer.

The new records will be activated when individuals log in for the first time or when healthcare providers access records in treating their patients. Two years of Medicare and PBS data will be uploaded, unless an individual chooses not to include this information.

Individuals will also be able to upload personal notes, advanced care documentation, and medication and allergy information. Authorised healthcare providers using approved clinical information software will also upload health information on allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details and test results.

Individuals will be able to ask their healthcare provider not to add specific test reports and other medical information to their My Health Record. Individuals can also restrict access to specific information in their record by applying a Limited Access Code to that that specific document — or by applying a Personal Access Code to the entire record.

Image credit: ©Australian Digital Health Agency

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