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1.5.1 About the My Health Record

The My Health Record was launched in July 2012 as part of a larger e-health initiative. It allows patients to share information with healthcare providers of their choice. Currently, patients and healthcare providers must opt-in for the system.

Participating general practices can upload two key documents to the system:

  1. Shared Health Summaries; contain a summary of a patient’s health information and includes past and present medical conditions, medications, allergies, adverse events and immunisations.
  2. Event Summaries; standalone documents for a defined event of care that is clinically significant.

1.5.2 My Health Record in General Practice

RACGP has received the following concerns from GPs regarding the My Health Record:

Extra time will be needed to manage electronic health records for patients.

Patients might hide or remove clinical documents with relevant information, forcing GPs to spend more time and effort seeking out this information.


Time taken to create or add a Shared Health Summary will depend on the:

  • Complexity of the patient’s health conditions.
  • Quality and currency of information already available in your local GP clinical record.

The RACGP Standards (against which most GP practices are accredited) require that GPs have a current health summary for 75 percent of their active patients.

As the Shared Health Summary in the My Health Record is based on the existing GP summary template, much of the information needed to create a Shared Health Summary may already be in your practice's local record.

The intention is that over time the My Health Record will enable GPs to:

  • Spend less time chasing information and more time with their patients.
  • Gain access to information they may not have in their health record system.

Patients control what information is made available to different healthcare providers. For example:

Molly goes to see several healthcare providers. When she sees her reproductive endocrinologist for IVF, she tells him about her previous terminations. She doesn’t tell him about her heel pain. When she sees her psychologist, Molly talks to her about the sadness and guilt she feels about the terminations, how the IVF is affecting her and her relationship with her family. When she goes to her podiatrist, she doesn’t mention her terminations or the emotional issues she has had.

1.5.3 Improving business efficiency and patient care through the My Health Record

The My Health Record is an efficient way to access to patient health information.


In day-to-day general practice, when seeing regular patients, the My Health Record may be of little benefit as the information is already available through your own records system.


Benefits of having an electronic health record may come through regular patients taking an active role in their health management and improving their health literacy.


The My Health Record does not alter your normal practice: You may use the information to aid clinical decision-making, but you still rely on your standard clinical judgement.

1.5.4 The My Health Record: A guide for General Practice



A digital record of your patient’s key health information.
A potential enhancement of medical information.
A source of information to assist information sharing and decision making.

Multiple sources of health information accessed through a central point.
Controlled by the patient.
A replacement for existing practice clinical records.
A requirement for medical treatment.
A replacement for current standard information sharing and clinical decision-making.
A single government store of personal information.
Provider controlled.
Going to look the same in five years time.

Is the My Health Record right for your practice? Things to consider:


Currently, the My Health Record is being reviewed so you may want to take a ‘watch and wait’ approach. However, if your practice is ready to engage with the My Health Record there are several things to consider.

  1. Do you have the staff resources to implement and manage the eHealth record system?
  2. Can your practice afford to buy the tools needed to participate in the system?
  3. Will the system be of benefit to your patients?
  4. What policies and procedures need to be implemented to ensure safe and efficient use?
  5. Is there adequate time to train staff?

1.5.7 Extra Resources

Quality health records in Australian primary healthcare: A guide

Helps health professionals produce, manage and use high-quality health records fit for a range of purposes including safe clinical decision-making, good communication with other health professionals, trustworthy partnerships with patients and effective continuity of patient care. This guide was developed by an inter-professional advisory group, in consultation with colleagues across the Australian primary healthcare sector.

View here

This Australian government website is the first landing page of the My Health Record, and includes the registration and log-in page. The website has an extensive range of resources available for patients and healthcare providers including FAQs, videos and brochures through its online learning centre.

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