My Health Records

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In the past few weeks there has been a lot of media attention on the MyHealthRecord. MyHealthRecord is the streamlining of our medical records so that health care professionals have access to information about –

  • an overview of your health uploaded by your doctor, called a shared health summary
  • hospital discharge summaries
  • reports from test and scans, like blood tests
  • medications that your doctor has prescribed to you
  • referral letters from your doctor(s)

We were approached by local media to comment and while they focused on only a few of our remarks we thought we would share with you more of what we said.

Stigma associated with mental illness is still prevalent in Australia and it sometimes stops people from living well in their community. MyHealthRecord will contain comprehensive and deeply personal information about patients that they may not wish to share with all health practitioners in their life.

The MyHealthRecord is an “opt out” system, which means that unless you opt out, a MyHealthRecord will automatically be created for you after 15th October 2018. There are still questions around what people are actually opting in to.

While we know in the short term this is a public health system, in 2020 third parties will get access to “de-identified” data for research purposes. Exactly what that means and how security is managed to ensure patient confidentiality is not clear. To find out more from MyHealthRecord go here.

For some, adjusting their own security controls is not easy and for that reason MHCSA believes that access to data should be “Opt in” as default. That means that your data could not be shared unless you specifically allow it.

Often people living with severe mental illness rely on advocates or other supports to not only inform them of things like MyHealthRecord, but to work with them to make informed decisions about it. Advocates need to know that the person they care for or support has an absolute right to make their own informed choice, and that if a person decides to opt out, they will have a choice to opt back in later if they change their mind.

Recently Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan wrote about My Health Records. You can read his thoughts here.

There is a Help Line number if you can’t or don’t want to use the website. It is 1800 723 471.

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