My Health Record opt-out period confirmed

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The Australian Digital Health Agency has announced the next step in expanding uptake of the My Health Record.

The My Health Record provides a summary of a person's key health information. It enables the secured sharing of information between them and their clinicians.

Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt-out period that will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018.

The opt-out process was backed by all state and territory governments through the COAG Health Council.  

People can cancel their My Health Record at any time after the end of opt-out out period, or create one if they opted out.

“My Health Record provides many benefits to patients, including reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions,” said health minister Greg Hunt.

“I would encourage each and every Australian to use their My Health Record and to speak with their healthcare providers regarding these benefits.”

Currently, 5.7 million people have a My Health Record.

The Australian Digital Health Agency confirmed a national communications strategy will be implemented to explain the opt-out process.

Consumers Health Forum (CHF) CEO Leanne Wells said she welcomed the announcement.

“My Health Record is a key step in the shift from health consumers as passive patients, to consumers as active partners in their own care.

“For too long, healthcare has lagged behind in exploiting the clear benefits of information technology to provide prompt, secure, and precise patient information. For these benefits to be realised and a consumer-centred and digitally enabled health care system to become a reality, consumers will need to be involved in using and improving innovations such as My Health Record,” said Ms Wells.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Dr Shane Jackson said My Health Record is a game changer for pharmacists’ contribution to enhancing medication safety and ensuring quality use of medicines.

“By integrating the My Health Record system into their practice, pharmacists will be able to optimise the outcomes associated with medicines. The information available in the My Health Record system will allow pharmacists to deliver more effective and efficient care,” said Dr Jackson.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President George Tambassis said that the national expansion of My Health Record will support increased use of the system by pharmacists and sustainable healthcare delivery.

“The Guild is committed to helping build the digital health capabilities of community pharmacies and advance the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

“We are working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to ensure that community pharmacy dispensing and medicine-related services are fully integrated into the My Health Record.”