As a Practice Manager make sure you are informed regarding My Health Record management so that you can provide information to patients if needed and understand the benefits for your practice.
An overview of My Health Record
My Health Record has been introduced to the Australian (Federal) Government as part of their commitment to continue to expand the My Health Record system. By the end of this year, all Australians will have a My Health Record unless they decide to opt out. It is important for Practice Managers to pass relevant information onto staff so that if needed, patients can be advised how to go online and manage their My Health Record.
My Health Record is an online summary of your patient’s health information and is designed for healthcare professionals to have access to timely information about their patients. Information can include shared health summaries, discharge summaries, prescription and dispense records, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports. As a Practice Manager, you would be aware that this offers advantages for your general practice management.
Be prepared with these Frequently Asked Questions:
What is My Health Record?
What are the benefits for the client?
Will patient’s privacy be protected?
How do patients manage access to their My Health Record?
Can our clients ‘opt out’?
Can patients remove information from their My Health Record?
Will My Health Record be used by the Government for any other purpose?
How safe is the data contained on My Health Record?
Is the online My Health Record easy to use?
My Health Record is an online initiative introduced by the government to consolidate patients’ medical records in one place online, accessible from any device that is connected to the internet.
For patients that move or travel interstate, your records are all online for access anywhere that has the internet. For patients visiting several medical professionals, it consolidates your records into one easily viewed online file. This could be particularly helpful in emergency situations.
All Australians can manage privacy and control over their records by adjusting the privacy settings online. Access can be given to trusted family members, friends or carers if required. Restrictions can also be set for what Healthcare providers can see. Specific documents can also have restrictions. The patient has the option to set up security and privacy codes for all records or specific documents.
Patients may set up a record access code under the privacy and access settings. The patient can decide who has access to their files by giving the codes to people of their choice.
All Australians have the option to be able to go online and opt out of My Health Record. However, they must do so by November 15, 2018, or the Record will be set up automatically. (On August 10, the Government announced they were extending the date until November 15 for opting out. Previously the date was in October.)
Clinical and Medicare documents can be removed from My Health Record however, this will mean healthcare providers will not be able to access this information, even in an emergency. If your patient changes their mind or removes a document by mistake, the document can be restored to the My Health Record.
Although My Health Record is intended to support patient care, they may also be used by the Government to provide insight into our health system and the services being provided to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
Patients data may be used for research purposes and therefore if patients do not want their health information shared they will need to go online and update their preferences to reflect their choice.
The Government have placed many safeguards on the My Health Record system including strong encryption, firewalls, secure login processes and audit logging. Data is also protected by Privacy Legislation. My Health Record cannot be released to police or government agencies for any purpose without a court order.
For tech-savvy Australians managing their online records will be relatively easy. Unfortunately, many older patients may find it all overwhelming as they may not use the internet very much or at all. It would be beneficial to suggest they get help from trusted family members if they do not have internet or are not able to navigate the My Health site easily.
The best way for a Practice Manager to understand My Health Record and the issues that it may bring up for you in your practice is to go online and look at your own My Health Record. Encourage your staff to do so as well. Adjust your privacy settings, decide whether you would like to opt out completely or opt out of the research section only. This firsthand experience will be invaluable for you and your staff and will allow you to have the knowledge and empathy to address your patients’ concerns and queries.