My Health Record: what you need to know
With My Health Record, you can store and share your medical information with health professionals. Here’s how you use it and who can see it.
In today’s digital age, it makes sense for medical information to be available when you need it most, like when you visit the doctor or are taken to hospital. Launched last year, My Health Record is an online file which stores your key health information and is accessible by you and your healthcare providers. Australians were given a choice to opt out, which has caused confusion about the best thing to do.
If you have a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs number and haven’t opted out of the scheme, a My Health Record has been created for you and is now accessible to you and your healthcare providers.
My Health Record is celebrated by some as a potentially life-saving tool. It can save time in the diagnosis and treatment of illness, as your health care team will have your health information at their fingertips. It can also reduce duplication of tests, such as blood tests or X-rays, as doctors can easily see your recent test results.
A shared record can also help with medication management, particularly if you’re on multiple drugs. One doctor can see what you’ve been prescribed and ensure any new medications are safe to add. And if you find it difficult to recall past medical events or are in a situation where you’re unable to communicate that information, a shared record is a useful tool to support your care.
But others say the system is time consuming for health professionals to access, they’re worried about the security of their data and how it may be used.
Here are 4 facts about My Health Record to help you get the most out of it.
1. You need a MyGov account to see your My Health Record
To access your own record online (or someone else’s if you’re authorised) you need a myGov account. This is the website that links to the My Health Record system. You don’t set up a myGov account, for your healthcare providers to be able to access your My Health Record.
2. You can opt in or out at any time
You can opt in or out of My Health Record whenever you choose. If you permanently delete your record, the government says no archived back-ups will be kept. Equally, you can opt back in at any time: your call.
3. Your My Health Record may be empty at first
The first time you log in to your My Health Record, there may be little or no information in it. The system will automatically search for up to 2 years worth of past Medicare information, like doctor visits and pharmaceutical claims (you can delete these documents after login if you like). You can add some personal information and notes straight away, but until your GP, nurse or pharmacist uploads information, your file may not have much in it.
There is also a ‘Shared Health Summary’ section of My Health Record which gives a snapshot of your heath at a single point in time and can include details of your medical conditions, medicines, immunisations, allergies and negative drug reactions. This can be done with your consent at any consultation with your key healthcare provider, such as a GP, and is particularly beneficial for patients with chronic conditions or those with multiple health issues.
4. You can track who sees your info
By default, your My Health Record privacy is set to ‘general’. This means your information is accessible to authorised employees of healthcare organisations, like a GP, nurse, specialist or pharmacist. You can set access controls to restrict who can see your health info, and check a history log of who’s accessed your file at any time.
You can also set up email or SMS notifications that alert you when your record has been accessed for the first time by a healthcare provider. Your health fund (or any other kind of insurance company) can’t access your information.
To ask questions about My Health Record, call 1800 723 471, visit myhealthrecord.gov.au, or talk to your doctor.
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