Health Reform Patients


As the November 15, 2018 deadline for Australians to opt-out of the My Health Record approached this week, complaints began to circulate online and in the media that the Government’s Australian Digital Health Agency’s (ADHA) phonelines and website were crashing due to the last-minute influx of people trying to opt-out of the process.

In an eleventh-hour reprieve, the Australian Senate voted to extend the opt-out period for a second time, meaning Australians will now have until January 31, 2019 to decide whether they want a My Health Record or not. Those that choose not to opt-out will have a record automatically created in the Government-run online database.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, who welcomed the Senate’s extension, has previously said the online health records provide “many benefits to patients, including reduced duplication of tests, better co-ordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions.”

Speaking on the benefits of the My Health Record scheme, Consumer Health Forum CEO, Leanne Wells, had previously said the clinical benefits of My Health Record for patients are significant and compelling, including hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, and better-informed treatment decision.

“For too long, healthcare has lagged behind in exploiting the clear benefits of information technology,” Ms Wells said.

Under the My Health Record framework, data can be linked to other datasets such as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) creating an easy to access overview of a user’s profile.

Other industries, including the Medical Technology industry have welcomed the My Health Record. Medical Technology Association of Australia CEO, Ian Burgess, said the development of My Health Record will “provide tremendous opportunity to improve data collection across the whole health system and across the patient journey”.

Ultimately, Australians will be the biggest beneficiaries of the My Health Record system.

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