My Health Record – you need to decide by 15 November!

Every Australian needs to decide by 15 November whether they want to have a My Health Record. Jim Simpson, our Senior Advocate, explains what you need to know.

Michael and Alanna looking at the My Health Record website

NOTE: This blog was updated to reflect the decision to extend the My Health Record opt-out deadline to 15 November 2018.

A My Health record is a record of your medical history. It will be held on a government website so that your information can be viewed from any computer or device that’s connected to the internet. You can see your health information using a log in to the website. Health professionals such as doctors and nurses will also be able to see your health information.

If you do not ‘opt out’ by 15 November, a My Health Record will be automatically created for you, including your Medicare and prescription medication records.

If you want a My Health Record, you still need to decide if you want to limit the information available on the website and who can see it. This is called setting access controls.

If a person with intellectual disability cannot be supported to understand a My Health Record decision, someone like a close family member can apply to become an ‘authorised representative’ for the person.

Go to the My Health Record website or ring the helpline 1800 723 471.

A My Health Record will usually be a good idea for people with intellectual disability who find it difficult to tell doctors and hospitals about their medical history. However, a lot of people are worried about the privacy implications, especially in relation to sensitive health information.

Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) believes it is very important for every person with intellectual disability to be supported to make their own decision about whether they want a My Health Record and, if they do, what access controls their records should have. If support is not enough, a close family member can help.

CID has been strongly advocating that the My Health Record agency make its website accessible for people with intellectual disability and run an information campaign targeting people with intellectual disability and their families. The agency asked CID to write an Easy Read fact sheet about My Health Record; we hope that it will be on the agency’s website very soon.

If you want to see an article spelling out some of the arguments for and against having a My Health Record, read this article by Leanne Wells, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia.

Published 23 July 2018

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