My Health Record is designed to be a repository of your health information overtime, a way to share health information with healthcare providers in a way that is fully controlled by the individual through a secure online platform.
In July, WCHM was invited to an information session held by the Australian Digital Health Agency regarding the roll out of My Health Records as an opt-out scheme. That meeting, along with recent Government amendments, articles and information released on the issue, especially regarding concerns over privacy protections, has motivated WCHM to provide a summary of the salient points of the My Health Record system:
- All those with a Medicare or Veteran affairs card will have a My Health Record created for them by the end of the year.
- As requested by key stakeholders, the opt-out period has been extended by one month until November 15th, 2018. In addition, the Government has stated that they will be amending the 2012 Legislation to ensure that any Australian, should they choose to do so, will be able to opt-out and delete their My Health Record at any time in the future, permanently.
- There may be little to no information in your My Health Record when you first log in, however, be aware that the default settings on your My Health Record is set to general access for all healthcare professionals and organisations to see. Should you maintain a My Health Record, you are able to place privacy settings on who is able to access, see and upload information on your My Health Record.
- You are able to create user codes for your different healthcare professionals to access your My Health Record. Should you wish, you can allow access to only upload information but not to view anything in your My Health Record. You can ask to not have certain documents uploaded and you can also delete documents or information that you do not want to be seen in your My Health Record. Once items are deleted, they are permanently gone.
- Through the privacy and security settings on your My Health Record, you are able to see (and be notified) whenever your My Health Record has been accessed and by whom.
- In case of an emergency where you are unable to provide any information because you are incapacitated, emergency room staff are authorised to open your My Health Record to see your health summary and glean information that may be relevant to your care. This ‘breach’ is allowed for a 48-hour period only. You will be able to see when and for how long your record was accessed.
- The Government has also stated that they will strengthen current legislation to match the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy. This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent. The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.
- The Australian Digital Health Agency would also like to make clear that under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010, specifically subsection 14(2), healthcare providers cannot be authorised to collect, use or disclose a healthcare identifier, and as a consequence access a patient’s My Health Record, for employment and insurance purposes. Under the Act it is expressly prohibited and using or disclosing a healthcare identifier without authority is an offence and subject to severe penalties, including two years in jail and a fine of $126,000.
To ensure that you make an informed decision regarding your choice of maintaining a My Health Records, please visit the My Health Record website: https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/ and see the links to the two media releases made by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, regarding the amendments to the My Health Record 2012 Legislation: