My Health Record: Opt-out extended to 15 November 2018
My Health Record – operated by the Australian Government – is an online database that keeps a person’s medical records in one place. Every Australian will have an account set up, unless they choose not to have one. If you (or one of your clients) choose not to have a record the opt-out deadline is 15 November 2018.
For detailed information, including security issues, visit: hepatitisaustralia.com/my-health-record
If you don’t want a My Health Record: opt out by 15 November
You can opt out online or by filling out a paper form. To opt out >>> click here
To opt out of My Health Record you will need to identify yourself and give:
- your Medicare Card, or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) card, and
- one form of Australian identification:
- your driver licence; or
- your passport; or
- your ImmiCard
If you have lost your Medicare card, or don’t know your Medicare number, contact Medicare to find out your details. If you don’t have the right identification cards or if you need assistance the number to call is 1800 723 471 – this is a Government number.
IF YOU ARE HAPPY TO HAVE A MY HEALTH RECORD
You don’t need to do anything. After 15 November 2018, health services will start to upload the past two years of your Medicare and pharmacy records into the system.
IF YOU CAN’T DECIDE
If you are not sure what to do, opt out. If you change your mind you can have one created later.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND
The Government says people 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.
WHAT WILL BE UPLOADED IN MY HEALTH RECORD?
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
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 might improve and support coordination of your care. It might 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.
Currently, 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 hep B or hep C, this information may be seen in your My Health Record by 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 cannot be searched for on the internet, and the Government has stated that your My Health Record data is unlikely to be stolen or hacked.
STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION RISKS
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 hep B
- have or had hep 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
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 five days.
You can also add personal health summaries, allergy information, care plan information, Indigenous status information and other personal information you choose to share.
CONTROLLING 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.
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 being reviewed, but at the moment they 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).
To view your My Health Record, you will need to create a myGov account and register for a My Health Record.
More info: www.myhealthrecord.gov.au