What is My Health Record?
A patient-controlled digital health record provides patients the opportunity to be more engaged in their healthcare. My Health Record is an electronic summary of a person’s key health information that can be shared securely between the patient and registered healthcare providers involved in their care to support improved decision making and continuity of care. This can help overcome the information silos created by patient information held in numerous locations that is not shared between providers.
My Health Record is Australia’s national digital health record system. It was originally launched in 2012 as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) and now has over 90% of Australians registered. My Health Record is an online repository for documents and data that contains information about an individual’s health and healthcare. It can be accessed online by healthcare consumers and their healthcare providers, to view and add patient health information. My Health Record is an important part of Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy that aims to create a digitally enabled healthcare system. You can read the strategy here.
Every person known to Medicare or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will have automatically had a record created for them in early 2019, unless they chose to opt out or previously cancelled their record. Individuals can permanently delete their My Health Record at any time and can re-register for a new record if they decide they want one in the future.
My Health Record is…
- A repository for documents and data that contains information about an individual’s health and healthcare from various sources:
- The healthcare consumer
- Their healthcare providers
- Another source of additional information for healthcare providers (can be compared to the notes a patient brings to your practice in a folder)
My Health Record is not…
- A replacement for local clinical records created by practice staff
- A complete health record, as the information may not be up-to-date or complete
- A substitute for direct communication or messaging between healthcare providers
- Mandatory for healthcare providers to use with patients
My Health Record does not replace local records
My Health Record is not designed to replace clinical information system records. GPs and other healthcare providers will continue to keep patient records at the local level.
Information in My Health Record may not be up-to-date or complete
As with other sources of health data, a My Health Record does not provide a complete picture of a patient’s health status. It is important to note that the information might not be up to date, and that the consumer can choose to remove documents from view, or restrict access, so clinically relevant information might be missing. Wherever possible, GPs should verify the information in a My Health Record using other sources.
My Health Record does not replace usual communication channels
My Health Record is not designed as a substitute for direct communication between healthcare providers about a patient’s care. Healthcare providers must continue to communicate directly with other healthcare providers involved in the care of a patient through the usual channels, preferably through secure electronic communication.
Use of My Health Record is not compulsory
Healthcare providers are under no legal obligation to use the My Health Record system. Having access to information via My Health Record may enable self-management and reduce clinicians’ time necessary to perform several information-led tasks, freeing up productivity for more critical activities. However, GPs should be aware they are passively contributing to patients’ My Health Records (where they exist), regardless of whether they are registered to use My Health Record themselves. GPs might be generating information for a patient’s My Health Record when using Medicare services, generating electronic prescriptions, ordering pathology and diagnostic imaging through participating laboratories or providers, and providing information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).