Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record soon, unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt-out period that will run from July 16 to October 15, 2018.
Australians can cancel their My Health Record at any time after the end of the opt-out period, or create one, if they opted out.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said My Health Record enables important health information including allergies, medical conditions, treatments, medicines and test reports to be securely shared between clinicians and their patients. It also enables people to take more control of their own health and wellbeing, manage their children’s health and upload key documents, such as advanced care directives.
“My Health Record provides many benefits to patients, including reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions,” Mr Hunt said.
“I would encourage each and every Australian to use their My Health Record and to speak with their healthcare providers regarding these benefits.”
This week’s announcement follows the government’s 2017 budget allocation of $374.2 million over two years to expand Australia’s digital health system.
The My Health Record system and opt-out process has the full support of all state and territory governments, which unanimously agreed to this plan in August 2017 at the COAG Health Council meeting.
My Health Record also has unanimous support from Australia’s peak health bodies, including the Australian Medical Association, the Royal College of Australian General Practitioners, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, and the Consumers Health Forum.
The government says protection of patient information is critical and the My Health Record system has strong safeguards in place to protect health data. It is also subject to some of the strongest legislation in the world to prevent unauthorised use.