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My Health Record: opting out deadline looms

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey.

By the end of this year, all Australians will get their own My Health Record – an online summary of their key health information which can be viewed securely online from anywhere at any time.

Whether they’re visiting a GP for a check-up, or in an emergency room following an accident and are unable to talk, health care providers involved in a patient’s care will be able to digitally access important health information.

This will include patient information on allergies; medicines they may be taking; medical conditions and pathology test results like blood tests.

A My Health Record is about helping patients get the right treatment.

Those who don’t want a digital health record created for them can opt out of My Health Record until  November 15.

Thirty-one Primary Health Networks (PHN) across the country, including South West Sydney, in coordination with the Australian Digital Health Agency, are currently engaging with consumers about My Health Record.

“The benefits of My Health Record must be accessible to all Australians,’’ says Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey.

“There has been a particular focus in our communications research on developing appropriate support for people with limited digital literacy or access, and other groups including people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people living in rural and remote communities.”

South Western Sydney PHN CEO Keith McDonald said South Western Sydney PHN was pleased to be providing educational opportunities to both providers and the general public about My Health Record.

“We are committed to providing accurate information about what My Health Record is capable of doing so that everyone can weigh up the benefits,’’ he said.

“Most people, for example, don’t know that each person’s My Health Record is empty until activated by the first medical practitioner using it or the individual opening it for the first time.

“Any concerns about past medical history being automatically uploaded can be debunked,” he said. “People also might be surprised to know that they can link their record to another loved one’s in the case of care situations.

“For parents this means they can manage their kid’s account as an authorised representative.

“This is a great advantage for families to stay connected and involved.

“Being fully informed in their loved one’s health journey can bring peace of mind,” Mr McDonald said.

Community engagement officers have been out and about at stalls at community expos, libraries, general practice waiting rooms and local community group meetings providing information and answering questions about My Health Record.

Local community groups who would like a community engagement officer to attend their meeting are encouraged to call 4632 3000.

To find out more about My Health Record, visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or call 1800 723 471.

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