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Digital Health Update - December

December 17, 2018

New laws to strengthen the privacy and security protections within My Health Record

On 26 November 2018, the Australian Parliament passed new laws to strengthen the privacy and security protections within My Health Record.

The new laws prohibit the release of health information in a person’s My Health Record to law enforcement agencies and government agencies without their express consent or an order from a judicial officer. These laws also prohibit by law access to My Health Records by anyone for insurance or employment purposes.

When a minor turns 14, their authorised representatives will be automatically removed from their record. Technical changes to the My Health Record system will be made to reflect this change in law, and implemented in the system as soon as practicable. We advise, as is best practice, for clinicians to continue to discuss with their patient what information should be uploaded to their My Health Record.

There are also greater protections for people at risk of family violence.

These changes are in response to the Australian community’s calls for even stronger privacy and security protections for people using My Health Record.

Australians can now opt in or opt out at any time

After 31 January 2019, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian who wants one. A person can delete their record permanently any time if they decide they don’t want one. If they change their mind, they can get a My Health Record in the future.

Provider Communication pack

The Australian Digital Health Agency will shortly be sending a communication pack to all Hospitals, Health Services, General Practices, Aboriginal Medical Services and Pharmacies updating them about the updated legislation and extension of the opt-out period.

For General Practices and Aboriginal Medical Services, the pack will include five items, and these are attached for your reference:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Summary of legislative changes
  3. Consumer factsheet ‘Keeping your My Health information safe’
  4. Consumer factsheet ‘How can I control who access My Health Record’
  5. Provider factsheet (GP or AMS specific, as appropriate) ‘Better access to healthcare information for you and your patients’

The cover letter promotes the use of the print on demand service to order the updated opt-out materials and other resources when needed.

Pharmacies will receive the same items in their pack, with the exception of the provider factsheet as this is currently under review due to upcoming changes to the registration process for pharmacies.

Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

A series of videos and fact sheets with important information about My Health Record have been translated into several Indigenous languages. 

These are available for distribution to your patients and for use in your practice here.

My Health Record CPD courses now available

The new CPD-accredited My Health Record in General Practice e-learning course is now available. This course supports those working in general practice to become familiar with, and confident in using, the My Health Record system. It contains five modules:

  • An Introduction to My Health Record
  • My Health Record Clinical Documents and Patient-Entered Information
  • Viewing and Uploading to My Health Record
  • My Health Record Privacy, Security and Consent
  • Supporting Patients’ Use of My Health Record

Each module has been endorsed for 2 category 2 points in the RACGP’s QI&CPD program for the 2017–19 triennium.

The course can be found here on our website.

Work is also underway to upgrade our CPD-accredited My Health Record in Pharmacy e-Learning course. Stay tuned for more updates.

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