It can be hard to remember all the information you get from a doctor, especially if English is not your first language. With My Health Record, an initiative from the Australian Government's Digital Health Agency, you can access an online summary of your health information.
Dr Monica Trujillo, from the Australian Digital Health Agency, says that you can access your own health record at all time.
"This is almost like a safety network," she tells SBS Radio.
"All the information is in there, and you can actually go afterward and have a look at it.
"We know that when you go and see your GP, when you go to see a doctor, it’s quite daunting so you only take in about 30 per cent of the information in your head with you.
"So having access to information is quite empowering for consumers.”
A life-saving tool
Doctors upload health summaries, event summaries and copies of prescriptions in your record. You’ll also be able to edit your information and add notes.
In case of emergency, it could contain information that would save your life.
Parents can create a My Health Record for their children so they have all their health information, such as immunisation records, in one place.
The same goes for carers, who don’t have to remember all of the health information of the person they’re caring for, on top of their own.
It also means that if the carer is unavailable and somebody else has to take over, all the information is there so people will receive the care they need right away.
A great tool for new Australians
It’s also possible to nominate people who have access to your account.
"I’m a migrant myself," says Dr. Monica Trujillo. "My parents are Spanish-speaking so they can put me as a carer and after their visit to the GP or anywhere, we can talk through the documents together.
"Any consumer can access and edit their information, but they can also nominate who they want to access this information so it’s a community of care."
By having an online health record, you don’t need to remember plenty of complicated medical terms because doctors can access your information, at all time.
To use My Health Record, you need to have a Medicare card and register. You can register
- Online - via the My Health Record website.
- By phone, by calling 1800 723 471 or by first calling the Translating and Interpreting Services at 13 14 50.
- Or in person through your GP or in a service centre offering Medicare services.
Once you create your account, it’s important to set your privacy settings. It means that you can decide which doctors have access to your documents and what documents are available to whom. You can also get notified when somebody accesses your information.
From 2018, the government will create a My Health Record for everyone. If you don’t want one, you’ll need to opt out. If you’re okay with having one, you should get on the website and make sure to set up your privacy settings the way you want them.
The opt-out period will be around mid-2018. If you want to know when it starts, register by entering your email at the bottom of this page.