Health records going online


The My Health Record project began in 2012, with the Commonwealth government announcing in the 2017 that every Australian would have the digital record by the end of 2018, unless they chose not the have one. The Australian Digital Health Agency answers some common questions regarding the health record: 

What is My Health Record?

My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual’s health information which enables important health information such as allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test, or scan reports to be accessed through one system.

People with a My Health Record can control what goes into their record, and who is allowed access to their record. Individuals can choose to share their health information with their doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and they can authorise others, such as carers, to access and manage their record. Authorised healthcare providers can view this information online when needed, such as in a medical emergency.

Why was a digital health record deemed necessary?

One in three general practitioners will see a patient for whom they have little or no health information, and many patient records are created as paper files which are regularly transmitted between healthcare providers using unsecure email, fax machines and by post.

As a solution to these issues, My Health Record offers health professionals secure, digital access to a patient’s record at the point of care, wherever that may be.

What are the benefits of having a My Health Record to the average person?

There are a number of benefits for consumers including better access, improved safety, and more convenience.

Better Access: With a My Health Record, important healthcare information is available in one place online that is easily accessible by the person’s authorised doctors, specialists, or hospitals. If the person moves or travels interstate, their information can be viewed securely online, anywhere, any time. People with a My Health Record can access their health information from any computer with an internet connection. They can also control who can see it.

Improved Safety: In a medical emergency, healthcare providers connected to the My Health Record system can access a person’s health information to provide the best possible care quickly. 

Convenience: People with a My Health Record do not need to worry about having to remember and repeat their health history such as medicines, details of chronic conditions, and dates of recent tests with different or new healthcare providers.

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How can we be sure a person's privacy is maintained?

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s first priority is protecting the privacy and security of people’s health information. Demonstrating a commitment to protecting individuals’ privacy is essential for establishing and maintaining the positive and trusted reputation of the Agency and Government. 

The My Health Record system complies with the Australian Government requirements for storing and processing information and is regularly tested and audited to confirm that these requirements are met.

The Agency has a comprehensive set of processes and technology controls in place to protect health and personal information in place. The system has strong security that ensures information is only stored and accessed by trusted connected health systems and users such as healthcare providers and consumer.

Do people have a choice as to whether their health record is kept?

Individuals can control what information is in their My Health Record, and which healthcare provider organisations can access their record. They can also view a real time log of every access to their My Health Record by a healthcare provider organisation. A range of privacy controls are also available:

  • Setting a code which the individual can give to their healthcare provider organisation to allow access to their record, and prevent others from access unless in an emergency
  • Flagging specific documents in their record as ‘restricted access’, controlling who can view documents or granting an organisation the ability to view documents
  • Removing documents from view within their record
  • Asking healthcare providers not to upload information

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My Health Record enables important health information to be accessed through one digital system.

My Health Record enables important health information to be accessed through one digital system.