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Last updated 29 March 2016

Frequently Asked Questions for Healthcare Providers

Available to all Australians, My Health Record is an electronic summary of an individual’s key health information, drawn from their existing records and is designed to be integrated into existing local clinical systems.

Rolled out nationally in July 2012, it aims to give healthcare providers access to patient information such as medications, test results, discharge summaries, allergies and immunisations.

My Health Record will not replace existing medical records. It is an additional tool that brings together a summary of an individual’s significant health information that is important to their ongoing care.

Healthcare providers will continue to take and review clinical notes. It is important to remember that the My Health Record system is not intended to be a communication tool – it will not replace the need to communicate important health information directly to individuals or other healthcare providers treating them.

My Health Record can contain clinical, Medicare and personal information. This information can include:

  • Shared health summary
  • Event summaries
  • Hospital discharge summaries
  • Specialist letters
  • eReferral letters
  • Prescription and dispensing information
  • Patient-entered personal health summaries
  • Health notes entered by the patient
  • Advanced Care Planning Documents

Information from the Medical Benefits Scheme, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australian Organ Donor Register and Australian Immunisation Register is also available for those individuals who requested this information to be part of their record. This information can be viewed by healthcare providers.

From 30 November 2014, the My Health Record system has capacity to include Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Reports. Healthcare providers will need to ensure that they have updated software to view and upload pathology and diagnostic imaging reports.

The Child Development section is an additional part of a child’s My Health Record available to parents or other Authorised Representatives of newborns and young children. Information about a child's early health, growth and development can be added to the 'Child Development' section of the My Health Record system.

It includes:

  • Personal measurements for head circumference, height and weight
  • Information and reminders about immunisations
  • Information and reminders about child health checks
  • Parental observations of personal growth and development achievements
  • Questionnaires on a child’s growth and development for completion prior to a child’s appointment with their healthcare provider
  • Information for parents

Is it important to note that any personal child measurements should be taken by a trained healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers can view this information (except for development achievements) through the My Health Record Provider Portal (with consent from the parent or alternative Authorised Representative) or through My Health Record system compliant Clinical Information Software. Healthcare providers are able to view the measurements for the child in growth chart formats with the data entered displayed against standardised growth percentiles.

As with the My Health Record system more broadly, the Child Development section does not replace your existing clinical records and should not be regarded as a complete record. It is an additional tool that provides a summary of a child’s early growth observations, as entered by their parent(s) or the alternative Authorised Representative(s). The Child Development section also does not replace the healthcare provider’s role as the as the clinical decision maker or the practice of direct communication between clinicians involved in the care of a common patient.

A nominated healthcare provider is decided by mutual agreement between the healthcare provider and the individual. They have the role of developing and managing your Shared Health Summary. This is usually your GP. To be a nominated healthcare provider, a person must be a medical practitioner, registered nurse, or an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health practitioner with a certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice). A nominated healthcare provider is not required for an individual to have a My Health Record.

Patients/providers can view their own My Health Record on a device of their choosing. However, only the Child Development section has a specific application for mobile devices such as iPads, tablets and smartphones. No mobile application has yet been developed to allow patients/providers to access and view their My Health Record as a whole.

Intellectual property rights are the rights that arise as a result of intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Intellectual property rights most commonly include copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets or confidential information.

Copyright automatically comes into existence when something is reduced to a physical expression – for example, written down, photographed, etc. – and the expression is ‘original’. Something will be ‘original’ if it is not a copy of something else. Copyright may exist in a number of items contained in the My Health Record System including reports, specialist letters, diagnostic images and shared health summaries.

If someone does something that is an exclusive right of the copyright owner – for example, they make a copy of a record available online – without permission of the copyright owner, there will be a breach of copyright.

In the case of the My Health Record system, if information is accessed or used via the system for an authorised purpose such as the provision of healthcare, or is downloaded from the system and used for healthcare purposes, it does not breach copyright. Despite this, if a person or organisation has intellectual property rights, they will continue to own them.

As a general rule, the author of material will be the owner of any copyright in the material unless the author created the materials as an employee in the normal course of their duties (in which case the employer will own the copyright).

Agreements between Healthcare Provider Organisations and their employees (including contractors) may state who will own the copyright in materials created by the employee. Healthcare Provider Organisations may wish to develop arrangements to deal with the intellectual property rights of other providers or organisations. Healthcare Provider Organisations must not upload information to the My Health Record system if it would breach copyright, such as if the organisation does not own the intellectual property in a document and does not have permission from the author to upload the document.

Clinical information you find within your patient’s My Health Record should be interpreted in much the same way as other sources of health information. It is safest to assume the information in a patient’s My Health Record is not a complete record of a patient’s clinical history, so information should be verified from other sources and ideally, with the patient.

The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare are funded to undertake a clinical safety program for the My Health Record system. As part of its role the Commission undertakes regular reviews of the system to promote clinical safety. The outcomes of these reviews can be found on the Commissions website.

The Digital Agency manage the clinical governance of the My Health Record system.  Clinical Governance has responsibility for clinical safety, clinical functional assurance and clinical usability for all Agency products, services and solutions, including the My Health Record system for release to the Australian community.

Support for clinical governance of products, services and solutions is undertaken via the Clinical Governance Committee, Clinical Assurance Working Group, and the Clinical Review Group.

The Digital Agency works with organisations such as the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) and the University of New South Wales Centre for Health Informatics to ensure the clinical safety and governance of the My Health Record system and eHealth products and solutions.”

They are unique identifiers for healthcare providers, organisations and individuals. Healthcare Identifiers will help ensure patients and Healthcare Providers can have confidence that information is associated with the correct individual at the point of care. The HI Service allocates three types of healthcare identifiers:

  • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI-I) – for Healthcare Providers involved in providing patient care
  • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) – for organisations that have conducted, conducts, or will conduct healthcare services
  • Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) – for individuals receiving healthcare services
  • HPI-Is are unique for any individual Healthcare Provider regardless of the number of qualifications obtained or number of Healthcare Provider Organisations worked for.

Key members of the indemnity insurance industry have been involved in consultations in the development of the My Health Record system.

These critical stakeholders have attended face-to-face consultations, made submissions in response to the consultation processes run by the Department of Health and have commented on specific sections of the legislation affecting them and their members. Their views have been sought and considered in relation to system design, legislation and change and adoption activities.

A Healthcare Provider Organisation may need to discuss insurance with their indemnity provider to ensure it has appropriate insurance cover for liabilities that may arise for it, or its individual healthcare providers.

Last updated 29 March 2016