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Privacy fact sheet 46: My Health Record system — What to expect in Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains

Note: This fact sheet applies only to people living in the Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains areas

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March 2016

In June 2016, people whose registered Medicare address is in the Northern Queensland or Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Networks will have a My Health Record created for them. If your registered Medicare address is in one of these areas and you do not want a My Health Record, you will need to opt-out by 27 May 2016. This fact sheet explains what to expect if your registered Medicare address is in one of these areas.

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.

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Process for creating My Health Records

If your registered Medicare address is in Northern Queensland or Nepean Blue Mountains, you will receive a letter from the Australian Government in the mail in March 2016. The letter will explain that a My Health Record will be created for you, unless you opt-out. You will have until 27 May 2016 to opt-out.

Deciding whether or not you want a My Health Record

You will need to make a decision about whether you would like a My Health Record before 27 May 2016.

To help you decide whether you want a My Health Record, you can:

  • consider the information in the letter and brochure you have received in the mail, and visit the myhealthrecord.gov.au website;
  • read the My Health Record privacy policy and privacy collection notice available on the website
  • understand the access controls that are available to you once a My Health Record is created.

The information listed above will help you understand the purpose of the My Health Record system and how your personal information will be handled.

What happens if I do want a My Health Record?

If you decide that you do want a My Health Record, you will have one automatically created for you by 15 June 2016. From this date, you will have 4 weeks (from 15 June to 14 July 2016) to log-in and set your access controls and Medicare information preferences. From 15 July 2016, healthcare providers will be able to access your record and begin adding information to it in line with your access controls.

What preferences can I set before 15 July 2016?

If you log in within the four week period, you will be able to:

  • choose to set your access controls to limit who can access your record. More information on access controls is available at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au and in the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 19: How to manage your My Health Record
  • choose which Medicare and other information you want included in your My Health Record. You can choose not to have any Medicare information included in your record
  • choose to receive email or SMS notifications when a healthcare provider first looks at your record
  • add your emergency contact details.

Once healthcare providers start adding documents to your My Health Record, you can choose to restrict who can access particular documents in your record.

What if I don’t set any preferences by 14 July 2016?

If you do not log in within the four week period:

  • two years of Medicare information will be automatically uploaded to your My Health Record, if available
  • default access controls will apply to your record.

The Medicare information that would be uploaded to the My Health Record is:

  • Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) claims information
  • information on immunisations from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register
  • Australian Organ Donation Register information

It is important to note that MBS and PBS information may indicate diagnosed conditions and illnesses. If you do not want this information to appear in your My Health Record, you will need to set your Medicare preferences so that this information is not automatically uploaded.

More information on Medicare information and the My Health Record system is available in the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 22: Medicare and your My Health Record, at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au and in the My Health Record privacy policy at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/privacy.

If you do not set access controls, the default access controls will apply. This means that your healthcare providers that are registered to use the My Health Record system could begin accessing and adding documents containing your health information to your My Health Record as soon as the four week period ends. They will be able to do this from 15 July 2016.

You can change your access controls at any time.  More information on default access controls is available in the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 19: How to manage your My Health Record.

What happens if I don’t want a My Health Record?

If you do not want a My Health Record created for you, you will need to opt-out by 27 May 2016.

To do this, you can:

When you do this you will need to verify your identity. For more information about how your personal information will be handled for this purpose, please see the My Health Record privacy policy at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/privacy.

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Once you have a My Health Record

Who can access my record?

Your My Health Record can be accessed by you, your healthcare providers and your authorised and nominated representative(s) (if you have one). You can set access controls that restrict which healthcare providers can access your record and also which documents they can see.

Access history

You can view details of who has accessed your My Health Record through the Access history function, which contains information on:

  • the date and time that your My Health Record was accessed or edited
  • the organisation that accessed or edited your record
  • whether your record was accessed due to a medical emergency
  • details of the action that occurred.

Emergency access

Healthcare providers can obtain emergency access to your My Health Record in certain circumstances. For further information on emergency access, see the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 23: Emergency access and your MyHealth Record and www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/privacy.

Request to not add documents

You should talk to your healthcare provider about the type of information you do and do not want uploaded to your My Health Record.

You are able to request that your healthcare provider not add certain documents or information to your My Health Record, and they must comply. It is a good idea to talk to your healthcare providers regularly about what information they will be adding to your record.

The My Health Records Act 2012

The My Health Record system is regulated by law. Under the My Health Records Act 2012, a range of enforcement powers are available if a healthcare provider or other participant mishandles your health information.  For serious breaches, this includes possible civil and criminal penalties for unauthorised collection, use or disclosure of health information in My Health Records.

Collection, use and disclosure

Healthcare providers and other participants in the system are authorised to collect, use and disclose the information in your My Health Record for the purpose of providing you with healthcare. This must be done in line with the access controls you set. If you have not set access controls, your healthcare provider must comply with the default access controls.

There are some other specific circumstances where healthcare providers and other participants can collect, use and disclose information in your My Health Record. These are when it is:

  • for the management and operation of the My Health Record system
  • necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to an individual’s life, health or safety or to public health and safety
  • required or authorised by law
  • for purposes relating to the provision of indemnity cover to a healthcare provider
  • ordered by a court or tribunal
  • reasonably necessary for certain law enforcement purposes
  • approved by you (i.e. you have given your express consent for your information to be handled in a particular way)
  • de-identified and used for research or public health purposes.

Storage of records

Under the My Health Records Act 2012 records must be stored in Australia. Your health or other personal information will not be disclosed overseas.

Cancelling your My Health Record

You can cancel your My Health Record at any time. If you cancel your My Health Record, no one will be able to see it and no further information can be added onto it (unless you reactivate it). If you cancel your record, your information will not be able to be accessed in an emergency. Information in the cancelled record will be retained until 30 years after your death, or 130 years after your birth (if the date of death is unknown).

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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.

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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 

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