With the Australian Digital Health Agency announcing that there will be an opt-out period for the My Health Record initiative, The Daily Advertiser today spoke to a few residents about their opinions of the matter.
My Health Record is a digital platform that provides an online summary of one’s health data and information.
Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one during the opt-out period that will run from July 16 to October 16 this year.
While the aim is to increase access and efficiency, not everyone is on board.
Robert Bradley, 72, from Wagga said “I’m dead set against it”.
“Once you get that information and put it all one database, every time Dick and Harry access it, there's not a thing you can do to stop it.
“This means confidentially and privacy do no exist,” he said.
Mr Bradley said he prefered the one-to-one data sharing between residents and their health practitioners.
“They’ve [Federal Government] been talking about it for years and were always adamant on doing it.
“They don't care about what we say – I disagree with a system that puts us into one box,” he said.
Lily Ong, 35, from Wagga said that while there may be concerns about sharing data, it would be positive overall.
“It's a good thing because data will be in one place
“If I move somewhere else, doctors would have all my details so I won’t have to repeat things,” Ms Ong said.
“This may be especially good for the kids. For myself, I have two kids, they are growing and there may be health matters.
“Keeping data of the past would be good,” she said.
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the platform enables health information including allergies, medical conditions, treatments, medicines, and test reports to be securely shared between clinicians and their patients.
It aims to also enable people to take more control of their own health and well-being, manage their children’s health, and upload key documents – like advanced care directives.
“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,” Mr Hunt said.
That sentiment is shared by Wagga resident Shane Reynolds, 58.
“It’s a good idea. When you’re not at your regular GP or if you’re in emergencies, it would make things quicker.
“There will always be concerns that data will get hacked into. I don't intend to opt out,” Mr Reynolds said.
Similarly, long-time local businessman Don Tuckwell said that while he could see how the platform could be handy, he has some reservations.
“In theory, it sounds good – but whether it works or not, it’s unsure at this stage,” he said.
Asked if there were any concerns about his data, he said he relied on his current medical professionals to decide what information to share.
“Suggestions they’ve given me so far have been good – until that time [data breach] comes, I’ll wait and see,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Rotgans, 30, visiting Wagga from Western Sydney said she thought that it would be good for everyone’s health overall.
“When you have to keep telling your story from scratch – that’s tough.
“Whereas if someone can pull up information from you to understand your complications, that would be more helpful than repeating things,” she said.
Currently nearly six million people have a My Health Record, nearly 13,000 health professionals are connected and more than 6.5 million clinical documents have been uploaded.
By the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one.
- For more about My Health Record, visit the Australian Digital Health Agency.