Why is it that we embrace all things digital, but we’ve been lukewarm on signing up for the My Health Record? Maybe it’s because of the government’s poor performance in promoting the online resource – or our innate distrust in the security of government IT projects?
The online health record will keep track of your medication details, test results and allergies, vaccinations, medical conditions and other health information in one digital account. This information can then be shared securely between you and your health care providers.
It has taken hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. After years of relying on people to ‘opt-in’ to create their personal record, the government has now shifted to an ‘opt-out’ model to more quickly realise the health and economic benefits of the technology.
By December 2018, all Australians will have a My Health Record, unless they choose not to have one created.
As the information held grows, it is anticipated the record will improve the safety, quality and efficiency of our health system.
How will My Health Record help you?
My Health Record will store all of your health information in the one place. Your medical history will be accessible to your doctors, specialists and readily available wherever you are in Australia.
This could make life much easier for ADF families when they’re posted to a new area. All the data and treatment by previous doctors will be accessible by new doctors at the posting location.
It will also help doctors who treat ADF veterans to recognise patients with Department of Veterans’ Affairs entitlements and their accepted conditions. It’s believed this will reduce the hassle for veterans in trying to satisfy DVA treatment criteria and accelerate the process for having conditions recognised by DVA doctors when making a claim.
And if you’re involved in an accident and taken to the emergency department, the doctors and nurses can immediately access potentially life-saving information about your health. It could be that you’re allergic to a medication, or have previously had adverse reactions to a type of treatment. That vital information will inform clinical decision-making.
And it’s not just emergencies – patients with chronic and complex conditions will have improved care and fewer duplicated tests through shared information with all their health carers.
You can also store your advanced care plan about how you want to be treated if you become critically ill and can’t communicate. Or you can nominate a person who you want to make decisions on your behalf in that situation. Doctors can act according to your plan or contact your proxies in a timely and effective manner.
Privacy and security
There are strong safeguards in place to protect the security of your health information.
The data can only be accessed for your health care and is not available to any commercial organisations.
Unlike current paper medical records, security measures will allow you to monitor when your record has been accessed (and by whom). The Australian Digital Health Agency’s Cyber Security Centre will also audit the system and monitor it for any suspicious activity.
You’re in control
You can control who has access to your medical information. You can allow general access to your record, or selected access to specific documents and limit who can view them. You may also authorise a family member or friend as your representative. Children’s records will most often be managed by their parent or legal guardian.
We live in a digital age. It makes sense to leverage the power of the internet to better connect our health system for improved patient care.