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My Health Record Update

The past few weeks have seen some significant developments for the My Health Record, including the March 24 COAG announcement that the opt-out model, previously trialed in both the Nepean/Blue Mountains and North Queensland regions, would be introduced federally. This means that a record will be created by default for all Australians, however anyone not wishing to have a My Health Record will be able to opt-out of the system.

This announcement prompted a spate of recent media reports, some of which contained information that may lead to patients voicing concern about privacy and confidentiality issues. Should you encounter patient enquiries of this nature, the following points may help to alleviate any concerns:

  • The My Health Record system uses bank-strength security including strong encryption and firewalls, secure logins.
  • In the five years of the operation of the My Health Record the system has never been breached externally and there has been no intentional misuse of the system from within the health sector.
  • Only a registered healthcare provider can access a person’s My Health Record with their consent.
  • To access a person’s My Health Record, a registered healthcare provider requires either a person’s Individual Healthcare Identifier, Medicare Card Number or DVA Card number, PLUS their Surname, Gender and Date of Birth.
  • A registered healthcare provider must be registered to use the My Health Record system, have an online authentication token to access the My Health Record and have clinical information system software that connects to My Health Record, or a personal online token to access My Health Records through an online portal.
  • There are both civil (up to $540,000) and criminal (up to two year’s imprisonment) penalties for unauthorised collection, use or disclosure of information contained in the My Health Record.

In other much-anticipated developments, New South Wales has become the first state to begin uploading public hospital pathology results into the My Health Record. This will be a staged state-wide roll out, with results in our Northern Sydney region scheduled to commence in early 2018. Over the course of the next 12 months lab results from other states and territories as well as from private providers will follow. Diagnostic imaging results will also begin to be uploaded commencing in mid-2017.

Both the opt-out model and the inclusion of pathology and radiology reports will bring a greater clinical utility to the My Health Record with improved accessibility to results and decreased duplication of testing.

If you would like further information on any of these developments please do not hesitate to contact us on 9432 8250 or email Helen Purdy at hpurdy@snhn.org.au.