On 26 November 2018, law was passed to improve the privacy and security of the My Health Record system. The Health Minister also extended the My Health Record ‘opt-out’ period to 31 January 2019.
Australians who are still unsure about My Health Record will now have more time to make an informed choice about whether to take part in the system. But what are the changes and how will they affect you?
Greater choice for all Australians
Every individual can choose whether to be part of the My Health Record system at any time. If you choose not to have a My Health Record now, you can always create one later if you change your mind. Even if you choose to have a My Health Record, you will be able to cancel your record at any time in the future. Cancelling your record will delete your My Health Record permanently.
Greater protection against misuse of My Health Record information for all Australians
One of the main benefits of My Health Record is to improve your health care outcomes. Only registered healthcare professionals providing healthcare to you may access your My Health Record.
Changes to the law provides greater protection against the inappropriate use or access of your information:
- Employers and insurers do not provide you directly with a healthcare service, therefore it is prohibited for them to access your My Health Record. Even if they ask your consent to share your information, it is not allowed.
- The My Health Record system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes.
- Misuse of a person’s health information is a serious matter. Most health professionals already apply professional and legal duties that protect your privacy. For people who break the law, penalties for misusing My Health Record information have increased to $315,000 and/or 5 years’ jail time.
Greater protection of your My Health Record information
The law changes ensure that the System Operator (Australian Digital Health Agency) will not release your health information to an external agency without a court order.
Greater privacy for teenagers aged 14 and older
The privacy of teenagers aged 14 years and older will now be automatically protected. Once a teenager turns 14, parents will be removed as authorised representatives. However, teenagers will still be able to grant parents ‘nominated’ access if they choose.
Extra protection for victims of domestic and family violence
There are already steps that victims of domestic or family violence can take to control the information in your My Health Record. Click here to learn more.
Parents subject to a court order where they do not have unsupervised access to their child or who pose a risk them or another person, will now no longer be entitled to be an authorised representative. The System Operator will also no longer be obliged to notify people of certain decisions if doing so would put another person at risk.
The introduction of My Health Record is an important step towards a universal digital health system for Australia. It is important that you make the right decision for you. The Australian Consumer Health Forum wrote an independent review of the pros and cons of My Health Record which you can read about here.
If you would like more information, please contact North Coast Primary Health Network on 6618 5436.