I’ve seen some mention of “My Health Record” in the media, but hadn’t really taken much notice of what was going on until I attended a Melb PC User Group session which included a presentation about this. It’s not new, as it dates from about 2012 under the opt-in “Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record” system. The change that’s now occurring is that previous “opt-in” system is being changed to an “opt-out” arrangement.
Although the processes for content were carefully described, I won’t go through all that here, save to say that each individual has a lot of control over this. But, I thought that there would be more “push back” on the security aspects. In fact, there seemed to be general acceptance that the concept was a “good idea”. There was a notable exception, in that one person in the audience claimed that her information had been uploaded without her consent and then deleted, and was concerned what “the government” knew about her.
The security arrangements were along the lines that would be expected, such as all the standard firewalls and monitoring systems. In fact, the biggest risk of improper use of the information is perceived to be at the medical practice level, but it was pointed out that the information on the My Health Record site was considerably less than would usually be kept by most GPs and probably was a lot more secure. As to a widespread “hack”, it was pointed out that a lot of information was already centralised in the Medicare system. It was stated one security measure was that the records are held separately in some way. I didn’t understand this, but the message seemed to be that the way in which the records are held would make them less interesting for a hacker, because if a hacker did get into the system, they couldn’t download information “in bulk”. I must look into this concept in more detail.
Overall, as I’ve said, the group appeared to consider that the ready availability of essential health information out-weighed any possible disadvantages. There are extensive rights to “opt out” and to control/limit access, but for whatever reason, it seems that the opt-out rate is running at around about 5%. This seemed to be regarded as being on the low side, but perhaps it will increase, as GPs engage with patients about uploading each person’s “Shared Health Summary”.
All that having been said, I checked my own record via the MyGov site. It wasn’t there, so I created it. I assume from this that records aren’t actually being created until the opt-out period ends (in November).