Opt-out Must Be Brought In
The Australian College of Nursing is calling on the Federal Government to adopt the key recommendation of the Evaluation of the Participation Trials for the My Health Record final report and implement a national op-out approach to shared electronic health records.

“Shared electronic health records will save lives,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said. “My Health Record, if rolled-out successfully, will mean no matter where in Australia a person is being treated, the health professionals looking after them will have access to their medical history.

“Knowing a patient’s allergies, recent illnesses, and medications can protect against potential medical error – medical error caused by having to make clinical decisions without knowing a patient’s history.”

The Australian College of Nursing supports an opt-out approach as it will ensure the broadest and easiest take-up by individuals.

“We can see from the report, that when Australians understand the benefits of a shared electronic health record, they want to participate. An opt-out approach makes it quick and hassle free for them to do so, while still enabling people to choose not to participate if they so wish,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

ACN supports the report’s recommendation that health professionals receive further training in use of electronic health records.

Feedback gathered during the trial indicated that for some people their general practice nurse was a primary source of information and motivation to sign up to My Health Record.

“General practice teams definitely have a role in educating the population and ensuring people get the most from this technology,” Adjunct Professor Ward said. “But we cannot ask them to be the only source and have them be who patients go to with problems around access.

“They will of course share their knowledge of the benefits of My Health Record with patients, but the bulk of access support and promotion must be undertaken by the Government.”

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For interviews, please contact Narelle Barrie, Executive Assistant to CEO on 02 6283 3459, 0450 908 920 or email narelle.barrie@acn.edu.au

For more information, please contact Carolyn Stapleton, Manager – Policy and Advocacy on 0448 017 194 or email carolyn.stapleton@acn.eu.au