Should you opt in or out of the Government’s ‘My Health Record’
Did you know the Federal Government has started an online summary of your key health information, contained in ‘My Health Record’.
If you have your health information stored, so that you have a My Health Record, then your health information can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time.
That means that even if you move or travel to another Australian State or Territory, you can access your health information from any computer or device that’s connected to the internet.
Will I automatically have a My Health Record?
Yes. Unless you opt out, the Federal Government has set it up, so that this year you will automatically start having your health information stored in My Health Record.
The opt out period started on Monday 16 July 2018 and you have until 15 October 2018 to opt out, if you don’t want to have a My Health Record storing your health information.
What is in your My Health Record
My Health Record brings together health information from you, your Doctors, Pharmacists and Medicare.
It can include:
From Health Care Professionals
- Your medical conditions and treatments;
- Medicine details and medications that have been prescribed to you;
- Test or Scan results and reports;
- Hospital Discharge summaries;
- Referral letters from your Doctor(s);
- An Overview of your health uploaded by your Doctor, called a Shared Health Summary. This can be a useful reference for new Doctors or other health care providers you visit.
- Contact Numbers and Emergency Contact Details;
- Current Medications;
- Allergy Information and any previous allergic reactions;
- Your Advance Care Plan (if you have made one about your future medical treatment) or contact details of your custodian;
- Veterans’ or Australian Defence Force Status;
- Indigenous Status.
Up to two (2) years of past medicare data may be added to your record when you first get one, including:
- Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Information held by the Department of Human Services;
- Medicare and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS) information stored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA);
- Organ Donation Decisions;
- Immunisations that are included in the Australian Immunisation register, including childhood immunisations and other immunisations received.
Who can add details to My Health Record?
Details and clinical documents about your health can be added to your health record by:
- General Practitioners;
You can add your personal health information and notes straight away. Information will be added after you visit your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
When you first log in, there may be little or no information in it.
There may be up to two (2) years’ worth of Medicare information, such as Doctor visits under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), as well as your Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) claims history.
If you choose, you can remove this information after you log in.
If you have a My Health Record and you are set up for online access, then you have the option of using a mobile app.
Your Older Medical History
Your medical history such as older tests and scan reports will not be automatically uploaded to your My Health Record.
Only new reports, results and scans can be uploaded by participating pathogy labs or diagnostic imaging providers.
Who can access or see My Health Record normally or in an emergency?
By default, all documents in your My Health Record are set to general access for healthcare providers by default.
This means that any providers who are involved in your care can see this information.
You can change your access controls at any time.
Any healthcare provider connected to the my Health Record system can see your health information stored in your My Health Record unless you take some security measures as detailed below.
How secure is My Health Record?
The Federal Government says My Health Record has multi-layered and strong safeguards in place to protect your information including encryption, firewalls, secure login, authentication mechanisms and audit logging.
There are strict rules and regulations about who can see and use your My Health Record to protect your information from misuse.
The My Health Record system is monitored by the Cyber Security Centre within the Australian Digital Health Agency. All personnel involved with the administration of the system undergo security checks.
Technology used to protect the sensitive personal and health information held in the My Health Record system includes:
- Firewalls to block unauthorised access;
- Audit Logs to track access to records;
- Initial and regular anti-virus scanning of documents uploaded to records, and;
- System monitoring to detect suspicious activity.
What privacy and security controls can I set?
You do have the option to control who can, and who can’t, see your health information.
The changes to privacy and security you can make are by setting a:
- Record Access Code (RAC) to give access to selected healthcare organisations;
- Limited Document Access Code (LDAC) which controls access to specific documents, so as to limit who can view them;
- Personal Access Code (PAC) which will give access to a nominated representative, such as a family member, close friend or carer.
Records for a Child
Records for a Child are managed by an authorised representative, being a parent or legal guardian.
Children with a My Health Record
If your Child has a My Health Record, then it will contain a My Childhood Development section.
You can keep track of the health information for your child using the My Child’s eHeath Record app.
If you have parental responsibility for a Child then you can apply to register any child under 18 years of age for a My Health record.
If the child is listed on your Medicare Card, you can do it through your myGov account. After signing in to your myGov account, you select ‘Access or create a My Health Record for someone else’.
Parents having issues about Parenting Arrangements for Children
As a ‘separated parent’ of a Child who is on two different Medicare Cards and someone who worked as a Family Lawyer for over 20 years, I had some questions about the My Health Record for Children. After spending some time on hold, because those on the front line answering queries on the help line didn’t seem to automatically know this sort of detailed information, I was told:
- Each Child will only have one (1) My Health Record, regardless of whether the Child has more than one Medicare Card Number, if the Child appears on each of their separate parents Medicare Cards.
- Both parents, providing they already have Medicare access for their Child(ren), will equally be able to access the My Health Record for their Child.
- If you already have, or obtain an Order from the Court for ‘Sole Parental Responsibility’, which includes sole parental responsibility for your Child’s health, then you need to provide a copy of that sealed Order, so as to make sure records are restricted, if that is your wish.
- Presumably, that means (I was not able to be given an answer, as it appeared nobody had yet thought of this) that either parent will be able to delete information, amend records etc.
- I was also not able to be told whether both parents had to agree to opt out for a Child from having a My Health Record, so it may well be, if you choose to opt out for your child under your own Medicare Card, the Child will still have a record under the other parent’s different Medicare Card number, since the records under both cards for the Child are apparently combined.
- I was also not able to be told whether both parents had to agree to make someone else an authorised representative to be able to access the health records (eg. a step parent or a grandparent if they are someone who takes the Child to the Doctor or needs access). It might be that either parent can simply add someone. If you have experience of this, please use our website contact form or our facebook page to let us know, so we care share what is actually the case, with others.
Accordingly, if you are in the Family or Federal Circuit Court System, and you have had past problems with the other parent, that might indicate you could run into problems with them deleting documents or information from the record, or amending the record for your Child, you may well need to seek some specific Orders from the Court ensuring both parents have access (or restricting access if necessary) and addressing the ability of each parent to amend or delete information in the My Health Record without the other’s consent.
The system may not (currently at least) have the technological ability to require both parents to mark, before something can be deleted, so Courts may perhaps have to issue an injunction against someone amending or deleting a record without the other parent’s agreement.
I don’t want it. How do I opt out of My Health Record?
In 2018 you will get a My Health Record unless you opt out and you tell the Federal Government you do not want a record during the three (3) month opt out period.
If you don’t want a My Health Record, then you can complete the online process to opt out from Monday 16 July 2018 until 15 October 2018.
You will need both your Medicare Card and your Driver Licence (or other identification) to complete the opt-out process.
If you have decided to opt out (either for yourself or your children), then you can do the opt out process (for yourself, your child, or both) at this link.
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