The opt-out period has ended, and millions of Australians now have a My Health Record. Like many similar initiatives worldwide, it is a secure, online summary of an individual’s health information.
It important to note that a My Health Record is a summary only, or a series of health and event summaries, and should not be considered a comprehensive record.
Uploading to My Health Record
A shared health summary in a patient’s My Health Record represents their health status at a point in time. It may include information about a patient’s medical history, including medical conditions, medicines, allergies and adverse reactions. A patient’s most recent shared health summary is likely to be the first document another healthcare professional views in their patient’s My Health Record.
If you are not the patient’s usual provider, you can upload an event summary to share key health information about a significant healthcare event with others involved in the patient’s care.
Newly created records may appear empty in your clinical software if no one has previously accessed them. Simply close and reopen, and the record will populate with the previous two years MBS and PBS data unless this has been specifically blocked by the record owner.
Using My Health Record is easy – here are some cheat sheets for accessing and uploading to a record:
- Viewing a record
- Uploading a Shared Health Summary: guide one from GP Improve IT and guide two from myhealthrecord.gov.au
Best practice is to view the record if you believe it may contain information that would assist you in providing best care for your patient, however there is no obligation to access the record. The use by health practitioners is voluntary.
Do I need patient consent to view or upload to a My Health Record?
Specific consent is not legally required to access or upload to My Health Record. Legally the system has what is known as standing consent. The records are treated by the same privacy legislation that all current records are: only those directly involved in a patient’s care can access a patient’s My Health Record. Young adults will now take control of their own My Health Record at age 14.
It is considered good clinical practice to advise a patient that you will be uploading information to their My Health Record, particularly if this information might be considered sensitive. If the owner asks you not to upload something, then you must comply with their wishes. This approach is recommended by the Australian Medical Association in its guide to using the My Health Record system.
Any improper access of a My Health Record is a privacy breach and is punishable by fine. All reported cases of suspected breaches will be investigated. Accidental breaches are unlikely to be punished, however this has not been tested in court. Patients can increase security on their own record by setting up an access code.
More information on when you can view and upload information into a My Health Record can be found here.
Who can upload to, access or change a MyHR?
Many clinical providers already use the My Health Record system to support them in caring for their patients. More than 80 per cent of general practices and community pharmacies are now registered. Find out more about who is using digital health.
All registered health practitioners including GPs, nurses, specialists, those allied health providers registered with AHPRA and pharmacists will eventually be able to access the record. Patients can limit access at their discretion.
Seven of the nine public health services in the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) catchment are able to upload discharge summaries to patients’ My Health Record, with the remaining two aiming to be connected by mid-2019.
Only some Victorian pathology labs and radiology are currently uploading to MyHR, however work is in progress to allow all to upload. A full list of who is currently uploading can be found here.
When this does commence, uploaded results will be immediately visible to registered health care providers but will be hidden from the record owner for seven days. This is to allow time for the providers to have dealt with them prior to being available to patients.
Only the patient and the author of the document can delete information – it is a patient-controlled record and they can also limit access to their record at their discretion including which health professionals can access it.
What resources are available for patients?
Most health care providers will receive a posted pack of new consumer brochures and posters in April, which have been updated following the close of the opt-out period. These materials will help your patients to understand the benefits of having a My Health Record and how to access and control their record.
You can order printed consumer materials in bulk at no cost to you through the online portal at myhealthrecord.immij.com. Delivery is usually within three to five business days.
To log in to the print ordering portal, please use the following details:
Alternatively, you can download consumer materials from the My Health Record website.
Where can I get more information?
Training and other resource materials are available to support you in using the My Health Record system. For further information, see: My Health Record in general practice.
You can also email NWMPHN’s Primary Health Care Improvement Team: email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This article was provided by NWMPHN. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.