There is a new medical record system called My Health Record.
Hepatitis Australia considers it important that the community is aware of changes to government policies that may impact (either positively or negatively) on people living with or affected by viral hepatitis. Below is information about the My Health Record system currently being discussed.
With strong debate continuing, Hepatitis Australia has recently lodged a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee on the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018. You can download a copy of that submission here. Download Now
My Health Record is an online database designed to keep all your medical records in one place, operated by the Australian Government.
This information describes the benefits and risks to help you make an informed decision, and talks about how to opt out if you do not want a My Health Record.
Every Australian will have a My Health Record account set up, unless they choose not to have one. If you choose not to have a record you can opt out from 16 July to 15 November 2018.
If you want a My Health Record, you don’t need to do anything. After November 2018, health services will upload the past two years of your Medicare and pharmacy records into the system.
Already, 5 million people have a My Health Record. There is now a 3-month period for people to opt out to close their record or stop one being created.
A My Health Record will include:
Medicare records for up to two years
Test or scan results
Medical conditions and treatment
Specialist referral letters
Hospital discharge summaries
You can set up control features.
Once a record is created, you can access it online with a personal access code, where you can add, restrict access or ‘deactivate’ information and apply control features and monitor who has access to your record. However, in an emergency, or where your or another person’s safety is a concern, health workers can ask for any restricted access features to be lifted for 5 days.
You can also add personal health summaries, allergy information, care plan information, Indigenous status information and other personal information you choose to share.
What are the benefits?
Health staff can look at your records and information. When you go to a GP, clinic, hospital, pharmacist, dentist or use an ambulance, health care workers can see what’s been happening with your health. My Health Record may improve and support coordination of your care. It may reduce doubling up of tests, prevent drug-drug interactions from prescriptions, and save time in an emergency or where you are unable to communicate.
Health workers will add to your record after each visit, prescription, or test. If you change doctors, with your consent, all your test results and medical information can be available to your new doctor without the hassle of transferring your files. It also prevents health information getting lost.
What are the risks?
Unfortunately, people affected by viral hepatitis sometimes report that they experienced a change in the attitude of the health care workers and/or the way they are treated, compared to other people, after the health care workers got this information. This experience is called stigma and discrimination, and can affect people’s health and safety.
To protect your privacy and safety, you may have been going to one service, such as your usual GP for some things, and going to another health service, such as a sexual health clinic for other matters. My Health Record will share your medical records between all the health services you visit including GPs, dentists, pharmacists, clinics, and hospitals. If for example, your record shows you have been tested or treated for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, this information may be seen in your My Health Record by of your health care workers.
The Government states the information in your My Health Record is securely held and cannot be accessed by anyone other than you (or people with your login details) and healthcare workers. Your information is not published online, it is not able to be searched for on the internet, and the Government has stated that your My Health Record data is unlikely to be stolen or hacked.
You can control who sees your records.
If you have a record, you can control who views information by going online and changing your privacy settings or ‘deactivating’ data. However, if you ‘deactivate’ data, the information is not deleted, and a copy will be kept in the system. You can choose what is added to your record by clearly telling a healthcare service provider that you do not want your health information uploaded each time you visit them.
You can change your mind.
The Government says Australians can cancel their My Health Record at any time after the end of the opt out period – or create one, if they opted out initially.
Other government departments or other people may be able to legally access your records.
The laws about who can see a person’s My Health Records are very broad. In the future, your health information may be shared with other people or agencies, including researchers, insurance companies, police, immigration, or community services. Currently health information kept in medical files can only be given to these third parties after they get court approval. Once the new system starts, other government departments and people can do this if they “reasonably believe” the information may prevent or solve a crime, prevent “improper conduct”, protect public spending, or be relevant to a case before a court or tribunal.The laws about this are in the My Health Record Act 2012 (Commonwealth)
Some people may find their My Health Record places them at risk of stigma and discrimination or may cause safety issues
You may wish to carefully consider whether you want your health records held or shared if you:
have a criminal record or are affected by the criminal justice system
use or have used drugs
live with a lifelong transmissible condition such as HIV or hepatitis B,
have or had hepatitis C
are not on treatment after it was recommended
are sexually active and test regularly for STIs
are or have been a sex worker
are transgender or intersex
are bisexual, lesbian or gay
have lived with mental health issues
have been pregnant or terminated a pregnancy
are a health care worker
Where can users see information about who has accessed their record?
My Health Record users will be able to see who has looked at their record by checking its access history online.
They'll be able to see when it was accessed, which organisation accessed it and what was done — documents being added, modified or removed, for example — but not the individual doctor who accessed it.
You can also set up an email or SMS alert for when a healthcare organisation accesses your record for the first time.
The privacy commissioner recommends checking regularly for unexpected or unauthorised access. You can call the ADHA on 1800 723 471 if you think something's gone wrong.
What to do if you do not wish to have a My Health Record
You can choose to opt out– but only have from 16 July to 15 November 2018 to do so. If you have any doubt, opt out. You can create a My Health Record later if you change your mind. You can opt out by:
visiting www.myhealthrecord.gov.au and opting out using the online portal.
calling 1800 723 471.
or on paper by completing a form and returning it by mail. Forms will be available in 2,385 rural and remote Australia Post outlets, through 146 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and in 136 prisons.
What to do if you do wish to have a My Health Record
If you choose to have a My Health Record, you don’t need to do anything and your records will automatically be uploaded.
To view your My Health Record, you will need to create a myGov account https://my.gov.au/and register for a My Health Record.
Update: 20 August 2018
A wide range of concerns have been reported in the media related to the My Health Record system. On 15 August 2018, the Senate referred the My Health Record system to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report. The deadline for public comment is 18 September 2018 and the report from the Committee is expected on 8 October 2018. For further information on the Senate Inquiry go to: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/MyHealthRecordsystem
Read more at the My Health Recordat this website https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/
Hepatitis Australia would like to thank Hepatitis NSW for collating this information.
Page Updated: 20 August 2018