My Heath Record
The Australian Government is expanding the My Health Record system. Over the next two years $374.2 million will be invested to expand the system.
My Health Record was launched in 2016, replacing its predecessor that was rolled out in 2012. By December 2018 every Australian will have a My Health Record, unless they opt out. The opt-out period will begin in mid-2018.
The benefits of My Health Record are that it summarises your healthcare information in one place online that can be accessed by yourself, your doctors, specialists and hospitals. It does not replace the records that GPs hold or the way they communicate with their patients. You can also upload your advance care planning documents. Centralising personal health records in this way obviously exposes patients to risks. Records being hacked or other forms of unauthorised access present a clear privacy concern.
Seeking a second opinion and keeping that secret from the medical professional who gave the first opinion might also no longer be possible.
From a practical point of view, My Health Record might not be as user friendly for people without internet access. My Health Record has two components, clinical and personal, the personal component calls for people to enter their own medical information. You can also hide documents and change access online.
Additionally, healthcare providers can choose not to sign up.
All these factors could create fragmentation of information and undermine how useful the system is.