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Personal Health Records: Third Party Sharing and Opting Out

Personal health records and data for each Australian citizen will soon be created as part of the My Health Record initiative. By the end of 2018, a record will be created for each Australian, unless they elect not to have one.

The purpose of the system is to enable better communication among treatment providers and to facilitate research and public health objectives. The Department of Health says “As more people and their healthcare providers use the My Health Record system, Australia’s national health system will become better connected. This will result in faster and more efficient care for you and your family”.

My Health Record will allow doctors and hospitals to access your personal health data at any time. A Shared Health Summary may contain information saved by you, Medicare or your treatment providers. For example, a Shared Health Summary may include documents providing an overview of your health, hospital discharge summaries, reports from tests and scan, prescriptions for medications and referral letters. It may also include information about immunisations and decisions made with respect to organ donations.

My Health Record data is currently only able to be accessed by patients and treatment providers. You can access yours here.

Of concern to some is an announcement by the Department of Health that de-identified data will be made available for research and public health purposes, unless patients opt out.

Australians will only be given a 3-month window in which to opt out of allowing third party access. Those wishing to opt out must do so between 16 July 2018 and 15 October 2018 by accessing My Health Record through MyGov.

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