My Health Record roll-out a step forward for Australia

The new measures to accelerate roll-out of the My Health Record, the national electronic health records system, is an important step forward for Australia’s health, the Consumers Health Forum said today.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said that the trials in the Blue Mountains and North Queensland of the “opt out” approach to My Health Record, were a vital test of the eHealth system. The current policy has been to leave it up to individuals to sign on for the electronic patient record and that has resulted in a slow take-up.

“The virtue of the 'opt out' approach in which people would be automatically enrolled unless they specifically decline, will be a faster development of a digital health record for Australians, delivering greater benefits to patients and doctors sooner,” Ms Wells said.

“We welcome the Government’s renewed push on My Health Record. Consumers have been waiting a long time for the advantages of easily accessible electronic information about their health care.

“We are well into the digital age in the way we go about other every day activities such as banking, telecommunications and online shopping. It is timely that we reap the benefits of the role that digital innovation can add to our health and care.”

“People want all their records about their health conditions, treatment, scans and tests in one place because they know it will improve health outcomes.

“My Health Record – once it is operating well and all health professionals and providers are using it to routinely log patient information and refer to that record --- should lead to better coordination, a decrease in duplication of tests and fewer adverse medical events.

“These are all the things consumers find frustrating, quite apart from and negative impacts on care. So they need to seize the opportunity that My Health Record offers.

“We need all GPs and other health professionals to get behind My Health Record, for the benefit of patients and their own work efficiency and effectiveness.

“Patients and clinicians alike often complain about the breakdown in communication across health care teams and about the frustrations and time wasted in gathering the same information on repeat occasions. My Health Record is a key building block for a more effective, connected health system and a powerful vehicle for ensuring better linkage and coordination of care in the consumer’s interest” said Ms Wells.

“My Health Record safeguards are designed to ensure patient records are secure and privacy-protected. Importantly consumers will be able to control who among designated health professionals are able to view their record.

“The Consumers Health Forum has long called for the move to an opt out scheme because we believe the sooner all patients and practitioners are part of eHealth, the sooner we can benefit from a truly 21st Century health system,” Ms Wells said.

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Media contact

Mark Metherell

Em.metherell@chf.org.au
T:  02 6273 5444 
M: 0429 111 986