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My Health Record – Your privacy and security questions answered

The National Allergy Strategy is working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to improve the quality of allergy information in My Health Record.

My Health Record can help people with severe allergies receive coordinated care because their healthcare team (e.g. general practitioner, clinical immunology/allergy specialist, pharmacist) can access all their health information in one place.

To align with Privacy Awareness Week, this newsletter answers some commonly asked questions about the privacy and security of My Health Record.

Could my health information get into the wrong hands?

My Health Record uses high level security and protection, just like online banking to safeguard your information. To gain access you must login through your myGov account which requires a password, and answer to a secret question (which you set up) or insert an access code provided to only you. Read about some simple security tips for healthcare consumers.

protect personal information

Can other government departments (e.g. Centrelink, Australian Tax Office) or the Police access my health information?

It is against the law for your My Health Record information to be given to police or the government without a court order. Your My Health Record information is for use by your healthcare providers only. 

What’s to stop a healthcare provider who knows me, but is not involved in my care, from accessing my record?

By law, only the healthcare providers giving you medical care can look at your My Health Record.

You can track who (the person and organisation) has looked at your record and when. You can also choose to have an email or SMS automatically sent to you when a healthcare provider looks at your record. Unauthorised access of your record is a criminal offence, which can result in penalties including up to 2 years in jail.

For more information see:

How healthcare providers access My Health Record

Control access to your record

See who has viewed your record 

What if there is information in My Health Record that I don’t want my healthcare providers to see?

You choose what information is in your My Health Record, and who you share it with.

By default, documents in My Health Record are set to general access for healthcare providers. However, you can edit what is in your record and who can see it. Consider this carefully, as the intention of My Health Record is to help healthcare providers give you the most appropriate treatment.  

You can delete documents and Medicare information from your record at any time. However, it is important to note that if you delete a document, it will not be available to healthcare providers in an emergency, such as anaphylaxis.

It is important that information about your allergies is available to healthcare providers. This is particularly important if you or your child unexpectedly end up in hospital – any food, latex or medication allergies will be known to your healthcare providers through your My Health Record.

You can let your healthcare providers know during your visit if you don’t want them to add documents or reports to your record. If you choose to do this, your health information will still be held in your healthcare provider’s computer and paper files as part of your care. It will not be added to your My Health Record.

For more information see:

Set an access code on your record

Control access to documents

MHR in hands

Remember, My Health Record is a patient-controlled record. It gives you the ability to manage all your/your child’s health information securely in one place. By allowing your healthcare providers to upload, view and share documents in your My Health Record, they will have a more detailed picture with which to make decisions, diagnose and provide treatment to you.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about privacy and security visit My Health Record for you and your family.

Please visit the National Allergy Strategy website for more information about this project and to read our previous newsletters.

Kind regards,

Dr William Smith and Ms Karen Wong

Project Co-leads, National Allergy Strategy MHR Project