In collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA)
Most of your patients will now have a My Health Record.
Between 16 July 2018 and 31 January 2019, Australians had the opportunity to make a choice to have a My Health Record, or to opt-out by 31 January 2019 if they did not want a record created for them.
Records have now been created for all Australians who want one.
Your patients can access and set up their My Health Record through myGov and start to add their own information such as emergency contacts, allergies and personal health summaries. If they don’t have a myGov account, they can set one up at my.gov.au.
For step by step instructions, patients can visit our website MyHealthRecord.gov.au, or if they need extra support they can call our Helpline on 1800 723 471.
What is My Health Record?
MHR is a secure, online health summary where healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care can access their health information. Information available may include a patient’s medical history, medicines view (incorporating prescription and dispense records), allergies, adverse drug reactions, immunisations, hospital discharge summaries, pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports, event summaries, advance care plan and custodian information. More information about what is in a record is available at the MHR website.
Patient control is at the core of MHR — and patients can set access controls to limit who can see their record and the information it contains. Additionally, Australians have a choice whether they want a MHR and can choose to permanently delete their entire record and any backups, at any time in their life. Importantly, if a patient who opted out of the system later decides they want a MHR, this option is also available to them.
What is it for?
MHR aims to support improvements in the safety, quality and efficiency of Australia’s healthcare system by allowing healthcare providers timely access to important information stored in the one place. It is an additional source of information to support clinical decision making — and does not replace other important information such as essential clinical conversations between a patient and their healthcare providers, or the medical records held in a clinical or hospital information system.
What to expect
Initially, you might may find your patients’ records contain little or no information. This is normal, as the record will be built over time.
Midwives and nurses working in hospital admissions and outpatient services, oncology, paediatric, intensive care, palliative, dialysis, respiratory and emergency triage nurses, nurse consultants, aged care and nurse practice managers may see records containing the most information. This is because some groups of patients are more likely to have more information in their record than others – for example, chronic and complex, oncology, palliative, nephrology (dialysis), ICU, very ill children, pregnant women and those attending hospital out patient’s clinics.
To date more than 15,000 healthcare provider organisations, including GPs, community pharmacies, pathology and diagnostic imaging services, public and private hospitals, and residential aged care facilities and specialists have connected the MHR. As more provider organisations connect and healthcare interventions occur, over time the information gathered in people’s records will increase.
How will it help you deliver care to your patients?
MHR offers a range of benefits, including:
- helping avoid adverse drug events by improvements in access to medicines information
- improvement in patient outcomes
- reduction in time gathering clinical information
- reducing service duplication and unnecessary tests, and
- enhanced patient self-management – My Health Record can support patients after they leave your care to have access to their care information.
In response to the Australian community’s recent calls for even stronger privacy and security protections, the Parliament passed legislation in November 2018 to strengthen the privacy protections in MHR.
Briefly, these changes:
- allow Australians to permanently delete their records, and any backups, at any time
- explicitly prohibit access to MHR by anyone for insurance or employment purposes
- provide greater privacy for teenagers 14 years and over
- strengthen existing protections for people at risk of family and domestic violence
- clarify that only the Australian Digital Health Agency, the Department of Health and the Chief Executive of Medicare (and no other government agency) can access the My Health Record system
- explicitly require law enforcement and other agencies to produce a court order to access information in My Health Records, and
- make clear that the system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes.
Harsher penalties and fines for inappropriate or unauthorised use of My Health Records have also been introduced, including fines of up to $315,000, and up to 5 years’ imprisonment.
Nurse champions for My Health Record
Nurses are already leaders in driving the use of technology to improve health care.
In collaboration with the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), six Nurse Champions from various health settings across Australia were appointed and tasked with being the face of My Health Record as the system was being put into practice. They are a key resource for the ACN and the Agency as My Health Record becomes more widely used.
These Nurse Champions will work with the Australian Digital Health Agency, the ACN and the broader nursing profession to educate and encourage nurses to use My Health Record in their everyday practice and to help to improve patient outcomes.
Nurses can access MHR as an employee of a health care organisation that has been connected to the system.
Further information on MHR and about getting connected can be found at the My Health Record website, or by contacting the Helpline on 1800 723 471 (select option 2).
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. (2013). Literature Review: Medication Safety in Australia. ACSQHC, Sydney.
- Roughead EE, Semple SJ, Rosenfeld E. (2016) The extent of medication errors and adverse drug reactions throughout the patient journey in acute care in Australia. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare. 14:113–22.