Education toolkits for general practice

Introduction to My Health Record in general practice - Chapter 1

What is My Health Record?

Last revised: 15 May 2020

Patient-controlled digital health records provide patients the opportunity to be more engaged in their healthcare. The patient's healthcare provider has access to additional source of information about the patient which can be shared with other healthcare providers that the patient sees. This can help overcome the information silos created by patient information held in numerous locations that are not shared between providers.

My Health Record is Australia’s national digital health record system. Launched in 2012 as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), My Health Record is an online repository for documents and data that contains information about an individual’s health and healthcare. It can be accessed online by healthcare consumers and their healthcare providers. My Health Record is an important part of Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy that aims to create a digitally enabled healthcare system. You can read the strategy here.

Every person known to Medicare or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will have automatically had a record created for them in early 2019, unless they chose to opt out or previously cancelled their record. Individuals can permanently delete their My Health Record at any time and can re-register for a new record if they decide they want one in the future.

My Health Record is…

  • A repository for documents and data that contains information about an individual’s health and healthcare from various sources:
    • The healthcare consumer
    • Their healthcare providers
    • Medicare
  • Consumer-controlled
  • A potential source of additional information for healthcare providers (can be compared to the notes a patient brings to your practice in a folder)

My Health Record is not…

  • A replacement for local clinical records created by practice staff
  • A complete health record or ‘summary’: the information may not be up-to-date or complete
  • A substitute for direction communication or messaging between healthcare providers
  • Provider-controlled
  • Mandatory for healthcare providers to use with patients

My Health Record does not replace local records

My Health Record is not designed to replace clinical information systems. GPs and other healthcare providers will continue to keep patient records at the local level.


My Health Record does not replace usual communication channels

My Health Record is not designed as a substitute for direct communication between healthcare providers about a patient’s care, and should not be used in this manner. Healthcare providers must continue to communicate directly with other healthcare providers involved in the care of a patient through the usual channels, preferably through secure electronic communication.


Information in My Health Record can be inaccurate or incomplete

As with other sources of health data, a My Health Record does not provide a complete picture of a patient’s health status and needs. It is important to note that the information might not be up to date, and that the consumer can choose to remove documents from view, or restrict access, so clinically relevant information might be missing. Wherever possible, GPs should verify the information in a My Health Record using other sources.


Use of My Health Record is not compulsory

There is no requirement for patients or healthcare providers to actively participate in My Health Record. However, GPs should be aware they are passively contributing to patients’ My Health Records (where they exist), regardless of whether they are registered to use My Health Record themselves. GPs might be generating information for a patient’s My Health Record when using Medicare services, generating electronic prescriptions, ordering pathology and diagnostic imaging through participating laboratories or providers, and providing information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
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