What is a My Health Record?
My Health Record (MHR) is an online record of your health information, part of a centralised database, operated by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
If you have a My Health Record it can contain information from health care professionals and from Medicare, including; health summary data uploaded from your doctor, data from specialists (eg. a psychologist) and pharmacists, reports from tests and scans (including blood tests), medications you have been prescribed, and more.
Prior to 16th of July 2018, My Health Records operated on an opt-in basis. My Health Records has now moved to an opt-out basis, meaning that if you do not want your medical records stored on the national database you have to opt-out.
The My Health Records opt-out period runs from the 16th of July to the 15th of October 2018.
Want info on why you may want to opt-out of My Health Record?
The creation, storage and access to My Health Records has raised concerns for many marginalised communities. As sex workers we can be discriminated against, even criminalised, on the basis of our status as sex workers.
Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) has raised the following concerns:
“..if you ever disclose your sex work or HIV status, or drug use and it is uploaded onto your MHR, it can never be completely deleted..”
“..allows for MHR data to be accessed by an ‘enforcement body’ without the need for a warrant or subpoena, such as the police, the immigration department and a number of other departments..”
“..The Federal Government has stated that the MHR data will be de-identified when used for scientific or medical research. However, even if data is de-identified, it is still possible re-identify data..“
Scarlet Alliance_My Health Records Resource
I want to opt-out of My Health Record, how do I do this?
If you have decided you do not want to have a My Health Record, you can opt-out online here:
You will need to opt-out before the 15th October 2018 to prevent a My Health Record being created for you.
To opt-out via the My Health Records website, you will need to have either a Medicare Card or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) card, as well as one of the following forms of Australian Identification – Drivers Licence, Passport, Immicard.
If you do not have the necessary ID to opt-out you can contact the My Health Record Helpline on 1800 723 471.
I want to keep a My Health Record, but how do I control it?
If you do choose to have a My Health Record you can manage your record, including who can view information on your record, here:
I already have a My Health Record but don’t want it, what do I do?
If you have an existing My Health Record and want to cancel it, you can do this via:
NOTE – If you are cancelling an existing My Health Record, your record will be maintained for 30 years after your death (or if date of death is unknown, for 130 years after your birth).
It is possible to re-register a cancelled My Health Record.
I want to make a complaint about My Health Record, how do I do this?
If you wish to make a complaint about your My Health Record, you can do this directly through My Health Record:
If you do not agree with the outcome of your complaint or wish to take your complaint further, you can complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Media Coverage of My Health Record
There has been extensive media coverage regarding concerns raised about the move to an opt-out system for My Health Records, see below:
‘Damaging our trust’: why My Health Record lets down sexual and gender minorities’
‘My Health Record opt-out period begins, but privacy concerns remain’
‘Cyber security experts warn patients over online medical record plan for all Aussies
‘Health records details exposed as ‘de-identification’ of data fails’
Vixen Collective is currently compiling a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from sex workers. Once we have answers from My Health Records we will provide updates on this page.