For the July 2019 Australia’s Health Panel survey, we asked the Panel what their experiences and perceptions were of My Health Record as we reflected on the first 6 months of operation following the opt-out period.
143 panellists participated to share their experiences with My Health Record. Women made up the majority of participating panellists (64%, n=85), while participants also skewed older than the general population (see Table 1).
Only 38% of participants (n=52) reported using My Health Record while even fewer (23%, n=30) reported that a health professional has used My Health Record while treating them. This suggests that while the ‘opt out’ rate for My Health Record was low and gave a seemingly high ‘participation rate’ of 90.1%; actual engagement with and use of the My Health Record platform was extremely low.
Of those who had used My Health Record, a minority reported that it was a positive experience (20%) or neither positive nor negative (22%). A majority of 57% reported that it was an outright negative experience using My Health Record, strongly indicating that more needs to be done to improve My Health Record experience for consumers.
Respondents were split about how valuable My Health Record is or could be to their healthcare. While the largest individual group saw no value at all (36%, n=46), overall almost half of respondents (49%, n=63) reported that they thought My Health Record had or could have some level of value. The remaining 14% were unsure as to if My Health Record is or could be valuable to their healthcare.
Overall, while currently experiences using My Health Record are not good for consumers, this suggests that consumers could accept that it can be valuable to them and provides some social license for Government to invest resources in improving the current My Health Record service to overcome the problems that consumers have encountered.
When asked where they wanted to receive information about My Health Record or get help with My Health Record, participants were evenly split with 43% (n=52) wanting to receive it from within My Health Record itself while another 43% (n=52) wanted to receive it from other Government websites. Only a minority (14%, n=17) wanted to receive it from other places such as printed materials, suggesting that online assistance and information is what should be developed going forward.
Finally, participants were able to provide details as to their personal experiences using My Health Record via a free text box at the end of the survey. From these free text answers, four common themes emerged as areas that needed to be improved:
- Consumers find it difficult to navigate the My Health Record platform, find out information to use My Health Record or access support resources. Additionally, they do not know who or where to ask for help.
- Consumers find it hard to get information added, removed or correct in My Health Record. Many consumers found that they needed to make changes to information in My Health Record multiple times, often to insert information that was unexpectedly missing, and these corrections were often very slow to occur.
- Consumers found that their GPS and other health professionals were simply not using My Health Record. Health professionals were telling consumers that they (the health professional) believed that My Health Record was useless and they did not want to use it. In addition, consumers were told that the only way to add information to My Health Record was if the consumer manually scanned and uploaded the information themselves.
- The My Health Record website was poorly designed and not very accessible. For example it did not cater well to people who were blind or had poor vision.
In conclusion, while current My Health Record experiences are not positive for consumers, many consumers do accept that the platform can be valuable to them and their healthcare. This provides some social license for Government to invest resources into improving the current My Health Record service to overcome the problems that consumers have encountered in the first six months post-opt out.
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia would like to thank all panellists for kindly giving their time to participate in this survey. Any questions about this survey and its findings can be directed to email@example.com.
Note- as each question in the survey was optional the number of responses for each question varied across the survey. This is why the ‘n’ for each set of answers may not add up to the same total number of responses for each question.