What is My Health Record?
My Health Record (MHR) is an online summary of your key health information. It collects information from you, your health care provider and Medicare. In 2019 all Australians will have a MHR, unless they opt out.
When you have a My Health Record, your health information can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time.
Why do we have it?
Remembering your medical history can be tough! Especially if you go to many doctors or move around a lot. Having a centralised, online health record allows you to store your medical history. Therefore, when you go to a new doctor, they will be able to instantly see your medical history. This is beneficial for knowing your vaccine history, remembering allergies and many others things.
Additionally, MHR allows for better coordination between healthcare providers, hopefully leading to improved experiences at the doctors. It will also assist allied health workers in an emergency, as they will have access to your medical history straight away
Who can see it?
As a young person, it is important to know who has access of your information, for security and/or personal reasons. According to the MHR website ‘all documents in My Health Record are set to general access for healthcare providers by default.’ However, you are able to control who can access your information. See the section on managing your security settings below for more information on changing security settings.
On top of this, if you are under 14, your parent and/or caregiver will have access to your record. If you are aged 14-17, you have the ability to ‘take control’ of your record and your parent/caregiver will no longer be able to see your record. However, your parent/caregiver will receive a letter advising them that they no longer have access to your MHR. This rule is currently being revised however and may change in the future.
At 18, a letter will be sent notifying your parent/caregiver that they will no longer be able to access your MHR. If you haven’t already taken control of your MHR by 18, you will automatically be given control.
If you are under 14 and want to take control of your MHR, you will require a letter from a healthcare provider or a court stating that you are a ‘mature minor’ and can manage your own health affairs
Your health data may also be used for secondary purposes, such as research. Your data is automatically available for this. If you do not want your data available for this, select ‘Do not participate’ under the ‘Secondary use of data’ section. For more information on secondary purposes, click here.
What are some of the risks?
As with all online systems, there is always a risk of information being hacked and accessed without your knowledge or permission. This data could potentially be used for things such as such as marketing, identity theft, blackmail. MHR does have safeguards to this but again, no system is perfect and it comes with a risk.
The other risks of MHR include having all healthcare staff having access to your information when it might not be relevant to them. If you do not wish to have all healthcare workers to have access to your information, make sure to increase your security settings using the tips below.
There is still a lot of stigma and discrimination towards the LGBTIQ+ community. While MHR won’t explicitly say anything about your sexuality or gender identity, there may be information about your health related to it on your record, potentially outing you to health practitioners. If this is something you are concerned about, you can put a ‘Record Access Code’ on your MHR and only share it with trusted healthcare practitioners.
Some illnesses, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or mental illness, still carry around stigma. In some cases, it is very important that your doctor knows about these aspects of your health situation or history. However, not all health practitioners will need to know. If you are concerned about any health care providers accessing sensitive information, you can set a Record and/or a Limited Document Access Code.
How do I manage my security settings?
The default setting on MHR is ‘All documents in My Health Record are set to general access for all healthcare providers by default.’ However, you can change who can see your MHR or specific documents by signing in at https://my.gov.au and
- Controlling access to your MHR by setting a ‘Record Access Code’.
- Controlling access to specific documents via a ‘Limited Document Access Code’
- Giving access to a nominated representative, such as a family member, close friend or carer via a ‘Personal Access Code’
With these, only those with the code can access your MHR, or specific documents in case of the Limited Document Access Code.
Your health data may also be used for secondary purposes, such as research. Your data is automatically available for this. If you do not want your data available for this, select ‘Do not participate’ under the ‘Secondary use of data’ section.