The Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network will be hosting additional information sessions about the Federal Government’s My Health Record:
- Kooringal Mall: Tuesday, August 7
- Sturt Mall: Thursday, August 16
- Wagga Trail Marathon: Saturday, August 18
- South City: Thursday, August 30
- Marketplace: Thursday, September 13
- South City: Tuesday, September 25
- Sturt Mall: Thursday, October 4
The decision comes after health minister Greg Hunt announced last week that the My Health Record Act 2012 will be redrafted to improve privacy for patients.
CEO of MPHN Melissa Neal welcomed the announcement.
“The legislation is being bought in line with the Agency’s [Digital Health Agency] existing policy, and I think this is a positive thing as it gives people confidence their important health and personal information is protected by legislation,” Ms Neal said.
The changes will also include an extension to the op-out period by one month, which was initially set to end on October 15.
The legislation is being bought in line with the Agency’s [Digital Health Agency] existing policy, and I think this is a positive thing as it gives people confidence their important health and personal information is protected by legislation.Melissa Neal, CEO of Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network
“The Australian Digital Health Agency is currently working on a report to provide the Minister who will consider the operational requirements of an extension of the opt-out period,” Ms Neal said.
“In terms of our communication of the opt-out period, it’s business as usual.”
Ms Neal said that the extension would provide people more time to learn more about the My Health Record system.
“This extra learning opportunity will help people make an informed decision about whether or not to opt-out,” she said.
“I certainly encourage people across the Murrumbidgee to seek local opportunities to attend an information session or an information stall to speak directly with one of our team.”
During the first three weeks of the opt-out period, which began on July 16, the MPHN team delivered or attended 21 information sessions.
MPHN will also be at the Henty Field Days next month.
“We are also delivering information sessions to various local community groups and have scheduled sessions with Oura CWA, Wagga Wagga RSL, Wagga Wagga Lions Club, Naranderra CWA, Leeton Lions Club, and Leeton Rotary Club,” Ms Neal said.
Asked about the system being opt out rather than opt in, Ms Neal said: “Moving My Health Record to an opt-out model has bipartisan support and will, over time, bring together people’s important health information in one place which may provide for safer and more efficient care”.
“Every year Australians have an average of 22 interactions with the health system – often the information from these visits is held in paper-based records in separate locations and most of these records are not shared electronically,” she said.
Ms Neal cited the following:
- 13 per cent of healthcare provider consultations have missing information.
- 17 per cent of all pathology and radiology tests are duplicated.
- 20 per cent of medical errors are due to incomplete patient administration/ admission.
- 50 per cent of all nurses’ working hours are spent on basic administration and paper work.
- 230,000 hospital admissions are caused by medication errors costing $1.2 billion.
Talks about privacy concerns are positive: researcher
Meanwhile, CSU PhD candidate Urooj Raza Khan said the media spotlight on the platform’s privacy and security concerns had been a positive.
Ms Khan, whose thesis is entitled Investigation of My Health Record (MyHR) adoption in General Practices of Victoria, said that during her data collection in 2017, minimal users mentioned privacy issues.
“There was limited awareness – but now because the topic is in the media, it’s in focus,” Ms Khan said.
“It’s good because we need to talk about the system more.”
Ms Khan said the current focus and latest legislation changes announced should improve awareness and education.
During her research, which focused on the human and social-science factors of implementing the platform, she said participants’ feedback showed that there was not enough education.
“Not just for GPs but also those trying to implement the My Health Record system,” Ms Khan said.
“From my observations, it’s about change management.
“While there are procedures regarding the technical issues, more is needed in terms of integrating it into an organisation.”
She said she believed data was more secure when stored electronically rather than via paper-based systems.
“With electronic systems, you can audit logs and have password layers,” Ms Khan said.
Similarly, Tim Kelsey, head of the Australian Digital Health Agency, told Fairfax Media that the privacy debate had helped the platform.
“Our objective is to ensure that Australians can make an informed decision about their rights to opt out, and actually the conversation that has been going on nationally in the past few weeks has been helpful in that respect because many, many more people are aware of My Health Record than were before, and they're in a position to make an informed decision,” Mr Kelsey said.
- More information may be found on the My Health Record website or via the helpline on 1800 723 471.