From next week, the Federal Government will expand the online My Health Record (MHR) system to include every Australian by the end of the year.
The online “e-health record” system is meant to be an easily accessed resource for doctors to consult for their patients' medical history, including previously prescribed medicines. It is hoped to bring “more timely access to important health information by both the consumers and their treating healthcare providers”.
The MHR is a modified version of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) scheme, set up in 2012. The PCEHR was a voluntary system, but only about 20% of Australians chose to enter it, and few doctors used it.
More than 5.9 million Australians already have a My Health Record, and 12,860 healthcare professional organisations are connected.
There has been some criticism of the system since it was first announced last year, claiming that a patient's records could be viewed by any “registered health practitioner”, whether they are dentists, optometrists, dieticians, doctors employed by insurance companies, or occupational therapists working for a patient's employer. This could lead to people gaining information which should rightfully be the patient's own business.
However, Professor Meredith Makeham, family General Practitioner and Chief Medical Adviser to the Australian Digital Health Agency says, “People can choose which healthcare information they’d like to store in their My Health Record and who they’d like to share it with.”
Your health records will be automatically entered in the online system, unless you choose to opt out, which you can do until 15 October 2018.
For further information, or to opt out, visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au.