More than five million Australians already have a My Health Record, which provides a summary of their key health information, delivering better health outcomes for patients and their treating doctors and specialists.
Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt out period that will run from 16 July to 15 October 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, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, 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.
“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,” Minister Hunt said.
“It also enables people to take more control of their own health and wellbeing, manage their children’s health, and upload key documents, like advanced care directives.”
The announcement follows the Government’s 2017 Budget allocation of $374.2 million over two years to expand Australia’s digital health system.
A national communications strategy will be implemented to inform all Australians of the benefits of digital health, and to explain the opt out process. During the opt out period individuals who do not want a record will be able to opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance.
Forms will be provided on request, and additional support will be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy, and those living in rural and remote regions.
After the three-month opt out phase, one month will be required to reconcile the data and to finalise processing of paper opt out forms received from Australians living in remote and rural locations, and from people who do not have access to a computer.
The new records will be activated when individuals login for the first time or when healthcare providers access records in treating their patients. Two years of Medicare and PBS data will be uploaded, unless an individual chooses not to include this information.
The My Health Record system and opt out process has the full support of all state and territory governments, who unanimously agreed to this plan in August 2017 at COAG Health Council.