MY HEALTH RECORD: IS IT FOR YOU?
What is the “My Health Record”?
The “My Health Record” is an online summary of your personal health information. The record will include:
Test or scan results
Medical conditions and treatment
It will NOT include clinical notes. It will include up to two years of Medicare data. Tests and scans that took place prior to the record being created will not be added. Tests and scans that take place after the record has been created will be added.
You will be able to add personal health summaries, allergy information, care plan information, Indigenous status information and other personal information you choose to share.
What are the risks of “My Health Record”?
Once a “My Health Record” has been created, it will be available for government agencies to access. The current government has undertaken to modify the access conditions of the record but until they amend the legislation, health information can be disclosed to a range of parties other than you, your representative and your doctor, including operators of the IT system supporting the record and their contractors. The information can also be disclosed for law enforcement purposes. If a health care worker is of the opinion that there is a serious threat to an individual’s life, health or safety, or they believe disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious threat to public health or safety, they can disclose information in your “My Health Record”.
The provisions in the “My Health Record” act are very broad and there are a number of circumstances where your health information can be shared with other people or agencies, including law enforcement or community services. The circumstances under which your data can be disclosed are very widely defined.
On July 31 2018, Commonwealth Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a number of changes including:
You will be able to withdraw after the opt-out period ends
Police and government agencies will need a court order to access information without patient consent
What is the benefit of “My Health Record”?
There are benefits to the “My Health Record”. It will allow medical professionals full access to your health information. This information may benefit you by improving your care and support greater coordination of care. It may reduce duplication of tests and benefit the health system as a whole.
As a patient, you will have greater control over your health information. You will be able to see who has accessed your information through your online record and you will be able to restrict access to information to specific health professionals and which information is available.
What are the risks of “My Health Record” for people who use drugs or who have had hepatitis C?
Unless you can tailor the access to your record, a broad range of health care professionals will be able to access your health information, including prescriptions and pathology results. The reality for many people who use drugs is that we experience high levels of stigma once our history of drug use, treatment for issues related to drug use or exposure to hepatitis C is known.
Many of us cannot access adequate pain relief or experience discrimination based on drug use or hepatitis C status. The “My Health Record” will make this information more accessible to a very broad range of health care providers including dentists, pharmacists and hospitals. Many of our community are denied health care based on our drug use and this record has the potential to increase our experience of stigma and discrimination.
What is NUAA’s recommendation?
We recommend that at this stage, if you have any concerns about the above, you opt out. You can always opt back in at a later stage if you change your mind.
How do I opt out?
You can opt out on line here.
You have until November 15, 2018 and will need your driver’s licence, passport OR Immicard as well as your Medicare Card. You can also opt out for your children up to 18 years old, but they can opt out for themselves if they are 14 or over.
If you don’t have enough ID, you can call 1800 723 471 and they will help you opt out.