MY HEALTH RECORD – will you opt in or out?

The latest deadline for opting out of MyHealthRecord is extended, this time until 31 January 2019.

There has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of opting out (or in). In particular, data security and privacy have been key concerns as they should be. It’s been a debate that has been much welcomed in health consumer and carer circles albeit a discussion that probably should have occurred much sooner and much more widely than has been the case.

For those with chronic or complex health conditions, there are many advantages in having records that are easy to access by a range of health professionals and of course, by the person at the centre of care and their carers.

During our co-design with carers, many people talked about the difficulty in remembering dates and times of past procedures, shuffling through x-rays and other documents and waiting to have test results provided to GPs and specialists alike. Some of these issues may be alleviated with a digital health record.

As a carer for someone, according the My Health Record website, you can be listed as that person’s nominated representative. This means you can view and manage their My Health Record on their behalf.

You can also apply to become an authorised representative. This means that you can manage a My Health Record on someone’s behalf if they cannot manage their own record.

Many leading care organisations in Australia have got behind the adoption of My Health Record including Leading Age Services Australia, Carers Australia and Aged and Community Service Australia by partnering with the Digital Health Agency. Their overriding message is that digital health records will lead to improved management of care.

If you’re finding it hard to make a decision,  Health Consumers Queensland has developed a fantastic resource to help with making an informed decision. It’s easy to read and talks through all the key points and things you need to know to make the choice. You can find it here.

For the record, I’ve done both. For myself and my son, we’ve opted out. Our health needs are minimal right now and opting out gives us both more time to consider our choice. However, my mother is nearly 80 and has a number of health concerns. She lives quite a distance away from both me and my sister. She’s opting in. This means that my mother doesn’t have to use her own system to record her comings and goings and my sister and I can also access her record if necessary. Of course, we also use Our Care Journal (we just got Mum and iPad) since My Health Record doesn’t record things like her likes and dislikes, track her sleep and pain, and any concerns that pop up for her in between doctor’s visits. It’s the best of both worlds.

-Leonie, Our Care Journal Co-Founder

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