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Privacy fact sheet 22: Medicare and your My Health Record

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March 2016

The My Health Record system allows you to have certain information held by Medicare included in your My Health Record. This fact sheet explains what Medicare information can be included in a record, who has access to it and how you can control that access.

What is a My Health Record?

A My Health Record is an online summary of your health information, such as medicines you are taking, any allergies you may have and treatments you have received. It was previously known as a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) or eHealth record.

Your My Health Record allows your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers (such as physiotherapists) to view your health information, in accordance with your access controls. You are also able to access it online yourself.

In most parts of Australia you need to actively register for a My Health Record. However, people whose registered Medicare address is in Northern Queensland or the Nepean Blue Mountains will have a My Health Record automatically created for them by the Australian Government. If you are registered as living in either of these areas and don’t want a My Health Record, you will need to opt-out by 27 May 2016.

You can use the postcode checker on the My Health Record website to see if your registered Medicare address is in one of these areas. If it is, you should also receive a letter and brochure from the Australian Government with further information.

This fact sheet is for everyone who already has or will soon have a My Health Record and anyone else who is thinking of registering for one. This includes people whose registered Medicare address is in Northern Queensland and the Nepean Blue Mountains region.

What Medicare information can be included?

The following types of Medicare information can be included in your My Health Record:

  • Details of claims made for Medicare benefits relating to health services covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) entitlements
  • Details of claims made for pharmaceutical benefits for medication covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS)
  • Organ donor status (from the Australian Organ Donation Register)
  • Immunisations administered until the age of twenty (from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register).

Decision to include Medicare information

You do not have to have any Medicare information included in your My Health Record.

When you set up your My Health Record, you can choose to include the information that Medicare already holds. After you make this initial decision, you can also choose to have past information, from the previous two years, for those categories included in your record.

Alternatively, if your registered Medicare address is in Northern Queensland or Nepean Blue Mountains, your Medicare information will be automatically uploaded to your My Health Record if you do not set your Medicare preferences or let the Department of Health know that you do not want a My Health Record. If you do not want your Medicare data automatically uploaded to your record, you will need to set your preferences before 14 July 2016.

Important factors to consider when deciding whether to include Medicare information

It is important to note that MBS, RPBS, PBS and DVA claims information may indicate diagnosed conditions and illnesses. You should not include this information if you do not want the diagnosed conditions and illnesses to appear on your My Health Record.

You can make a decision to include Medicare information on behalf of a child if you are their parent or guardian. If you decide to include Medicare claims information, the child’s record will only contain information relating to the Medicare card number that you and the child share. If the child has any other authorised representative(s) who can access their record, they will be able to view this information. Once a child turns 14, no new or existing claims information will be recorded on their My Health Record until the child assumes control of their record and decides to include future claims information.

You can decide to no longer have your Medicare information in your My Health Record at any time. If you do decide to do this, no new information will be included on your record, however information that was already included will remain visible unless you ‘effectively remove’ each individual item from view. Alternatively, you can manually restrict access to past Medicare information by setting advanced access controls.

When making the decision whether to include Medicare information, it is important to be aware that you will not be able to edit individual items of Medicare information. However, you can ‘effectively remove’ documents containing those items from view. If you ‘effectively remove’ a document the document will no longer be viewable or accessible by you or your healthcare providers.

For more information on setting advanced access controls please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 19: How to manage your My Health Record.

Who will have access to the Medicare information in the My Health Record?

If you include Medicare information in your My Health Record, this information will be available to all healthcare providers, authorised representatives and nominated representatives who have access to your record, unless you restrict their access using the advanced access controls.

For further information on authorised and nominated representatives, see the Department of Health’s My Health Record glossary.

More information

For more information on protecting your privacy in the My Health Record system, please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 15: Ten tips for protecting the personal information in your My Health Record.

For more information on the OAIC’s role in the My Health Record system, please see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 18: The OAIC and the My Health Record system

For further information

telephone: 1300 363 992

email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au

write: GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001

Or visit our website at www.oaic.gov.au