November 2018 | Les Stubbs & Cheryl Po
- What is My Health Record?
Under the My Health Record scheme, a health record account will be created for you by the end of 2018 (with records available in 2019) if you have a Medicare card or a Veterans’ Affairs card. This allows your healthcare providers to access your account to see your health information such as allergies, medications and immunisations. This is designed to help your health providers give you the best possible treatment and care.
- What are some of the privacy issues for families under the My Health Record scheme?
Since the Government introduced the My Health Record scheme, there has been ongoing and intense debate about privacy issues and who should have access to accounts.
The details about who should have access to your account are yet to be confirmed. What is more crucial for a separated couple is that a My Health Record account will also be created for each of your children individually, separate to your own accounts. Both parents can then link the children’s account to their own accounts if their children are listed in their Medicare account. This means that your ex-partner will be able to see all the health records of your child/children.
- So what’s wrong with my ex-partner viewing the children’s health records?
“Health records” include medical reports showing the clinic/medical centre your child attended, hospital discharge summaries showing the hospital to which your child was admitted and referral letters showing the address/es of the doctors/specialists whom your child saw. This, together with any other identifying information, will help your ex-partner to narrow down the locations of your child/children and you.
If you are separated and your ex-partner is abusive, be aware that the My Health Record scheme can potentially put your safety at risk.
- What should I do?
If you have safety or security concerns about your ex-partner, you should opt-out before 31 January 2019 to ensure that your whereabouts are not disclosed to them. Go to the following website:
and follow the prompts to opt-out for your children and/or for yourself.
- What if I miss the deadline?
If you do not opt-out before the opt-out period expires, your children’s information may be disclosed to your ex-partner without your knowledge.
You can still try this option: –
Contact the Australian Digital Health Agency to request that each of your children’s personal ID numbers be suspended immediately. The personal ID number is linked to their Medicare accounts. If the ID number is suspended, it prevents your ex-partner from linking the child/children’s account to his/her account after the opt-out period expires.
However, the request does not automatically stop your ex-partner from linking your children’s accounts to his/her account. The Agency will assess your request. If your request is accepted, your ex-partner will be denied access to your children’s information. However, your ex-partner may be able to contest the decision of the Agency in the Family Court. On the other hand, if your request is refused by the Agency, you can also contest the decision in the Family Court but the outcome is not guaranteed.