Register for a My Health Record myGov iconSign in with myGov

Last updated 13 May 2016

All you need to know about Shared Health Summaries

Published 13 May 2016


A shared health summary is a crucial part of an individual’s My Health Record. In this article healthcare providers will learn the difference between a shared health summary and an event summary, who can create them, and how to create, upload, and update them as part of using the system.

What is a shared health summary?

A shared health summary (SHS) is a clinically reviewed summary of an individual’s health status at a point in time authored by an individual’s ‘nominated healthcare provider’. The structure of a SHS is based on the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP's) template for a GP health summary. A provider is not under any obligation to either be a nominated provider or upload a SHS, and an individual is not required to have a nominated provider or a SHS in their record. The SHS may include information about:

  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Adverse reactions
  • Immunisations
  • Medical History

In the majority of cases, the most recently uploaded SHS in an individual's My Health Record will be the first document accessed by other healthcare providers viewing an individual's My Health Record.

Who can create and upload a shared health summary?

A SHS can be created by an individual’s nominated healthcare provider either:

  • A Registered Medical Practitioner;
  • A Registered Nurse; or
  • An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner with a Cert IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice).

Any authorised employee in a registered healthcare provider organisation can upload a shared health summary (including those without a HPI-I), however it needs to be authored by a nominated healthcare provider (medical practitioner, registered nurse or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health practitioner). An individual can have only one nominated healthcare provider at any time and this should be decided by mutual agreement between the healthcare provider and the individual.

A SHS must be created by an individual’s nominated healthcare provider. A healthcare provider who is not the patient's usual healthcare provider - for example, an after-hours medical service provider - could use an event summary to upload clinically relevant information to the individual’s My Health Record. More information about the event summary is provided below.

A SHS created by an individual’s nominated healthcare provider can be uploaded by that healthcare provider or by an authorised employee in the registered healthcare provider organisation.

When to create a shared health summary?

A SHS can be created at any consultation or afterwards if more convenient for the healthcare professional. A good time to create a SHS is when the nominated healthcare provider is completing a patient health assessment, for example:

A GP management plan

Patients who have one or more chronic medical conditions and need a GP management plan may also benefit from having a SHS uploaded to their My Health Record at the same point in time.

75+ health assessment

This structured assessment of a patient over 75 years may be a good opportunity to upload a SHS to their My Health Record given the in-depth review that is undertaken. It also supports ongoing management for the patient, their family and other healthcare providers.

Flu vaccination

Another opportune time to upload a SHS is when offering the flu vaccination. Many of the high-risk patients to whom your practice offers the flu vaccination may also benefit from the creation of a SHS to manage their health.

A SHS should also be created for an individual any time there is a clinically relevant event that other healthcare providers who may be involved in the individual’s care may benefit from knowing (for example, new prescribed medications or dosages, new medical conditions etc.) Any updates to an individual’s SHS will require a new SHS to be created. This can be done quickly and easily from most clinical information systems. The updated SHS will appear as the most recent SHS in the individual’s My Health Record.

How do I create a shared health summary?

To create a shared health summary (SHS), the healthcare provider will need to obtain the patient’s agreement that they are the individual’s nominated healthcare provider. This can be a verbal agreement, there is no requirement for signed documentation.

Before creating and uploading a SHS to an individual’s My Health Record, it is a good idea for the healthcare provider to have a conversation with the patient about the type of information the provider will include in the SHS. However, there is no explicit requirement for the patient to review the SHS before it is uploaded to their My Health Record.

When creating the SHS, the nominated healthcare provider needs to ensure that all aspects of it have been completed and verify the accuracy of the information it contains. In assessing its content, the nominated healthcare provider should take into account other relevant information on the patient’s My Health Record.

It is important to note that consent given by the individual when they register for a My Health Record is subject to parts of the Public Health Acts of New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory that prohibit the disclosure of certain sensitive information (such as in connection with AIDS or HIV) without the express consent of the individual.

To assist healthcare providers to become familiar with, and confident in using, the My Health Record system, we have refreshed the online training that is available for healthcare providers. This online training includes information, including easy-to-follow instructions on how to upload a SHS to My Health Record as viewed through each of the most commonly-used clinical information systems. The online training is designed so that healthcare providers can complete the training when they have time and at their own pace. You can access the new training through the My Health Record Online Training website

What is the difference between a shared health summary and an event health summary?

An event summary differs from a shared health summary in that it can be created by healthcare providers other than the individual’s nominated healthcare provider (for example, pharmacist, emergency department physician or after-hours care provider) to record a significant health event. This would inform other treating healthcare providers, including the individual’s usual healthcare provider. An event summary includes details such as:

  • Date of event
  • Reason for visit
  • Allergies and alerts;
  • Medications;
  • Diagnosis;
  • Interventions;
  • Diagnostic investigations; and
  • Observations

Please find additional information on the difference between a shared health summary and an event summary.

Last updated 13 May 2016