My Health Record – In Your Hands

Image: Australian Government

From today all Australians will be able to decide if they want a My Health Record – an online summary of your key health information where you can safely store, access and share your important health information.

More than 5.9 million Australians already have a My Health Record. 12,860 healthcare professional organisations are also connected, including general practices, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic imaging and pathology practices. My Health Record is already making healthcare management for individuals and healthcare providers easier and safer, and could save lives in an emergency situation.

Australians can manage privacy and control access to their My Health Record including what information gets uploaded and who has access such as family members, carers and healthcare providers. This empowers you to share and control your health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers from anywhere, at any time.

By the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they choose not to have one. If you choose not to have a My Health Record, you will be able to opt out of having one created for you during a three‐month period starting on 16 July and ending on 15 October 2018.

Professor Meredith Makeham, family General Practitioner and Chief Medical Adviser to the Australian Digital Health Agency said, “My Health Record empowers Australians by giving them secure access to their own healthcare information and supports them in managing their health conditions.”

“People can choose which healthcare information they’d like to store in their My Health Record and who they’d like to share it with,” said Professor Makeham.

“My Health Record aims to deliver better healthcare outcomes and safer care for people. It will reduce harm caused by medication errors because people and their healthcare providers will have access to important information about medicines and allergies. This could save your life in an emergency.”

“My Health Record will help people with chronic and complex health conditions have better coordinated care. It will enable all of their clinicians to see the same healthcare information. This should also reduce avoidable hospital admissions and the unnecessary duplication of pathology and imaging investigations.”

“My Health Record has the potential to have a significant and long‐lasting positive impact on healthcare services for every Australian, and we encourage all Australians to find out about the benefits of the My Health Record,” said Mr Tim Kelsey, Chief Executive of the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“My Health Record is a key priority in the Government’s National Digital Health Strategy, and a great example of the collaboration underway as government, healthcare providers, industry bodies, and Australians all work together to deliver it.”

Australia’s peak GP, pharmacy, and healthcare bodies support My Health Record and the Government’s decision to move the system to an opt out model.

Consumers Health Forum (CHF) CEO, Ms Leanne Wells said the opt out period is an important time for Australians to learn more about My Health Record. “My Health Record gives Australians the opportunity to be active partners in their own care, with many potential benefits for those that decide to have one. The opt out period is a great opportunity for individuals to learn more about My Health Record so they can understand the impact it could have on their treatments. We are looking forward to seeing more records be created by the end of the year, so more Australians have access to the benefits the platform enables,” said Ms Wells.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Tony Bartone believes the opt out model is the fastest and most effective way to realise the benefits of My Health Record. “The My Health Record will allow a range of benefits – from a full medication summary, to a record of diagnostic reports, through to the ability for patients to enter their own notes. Ultimately it’s a tool that will help patients better track their own health and medical history,” said Dr Bartone.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth and Practice Services Dr Nathan Pinskier said My Health Record is one of the best examples of how technology can make a positive difference to society. “Many Australians are already making use of digital services across a range of industries. My Health Record provides the opportunity for Australians to access their health information in a secure environment. The RACGP are working with GPs to obtain awareness on how to best use My Health Record to provide patients timely access to additional information and support better health outcomes,” said Dr Pinskier.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President, Dr Shane Jackson is also looking forward to seeing more Australians take ownership of their healthcare. “In collaboration with the Agency we are helping our 30,000 pharmacists guide patients through this important healthcare decision. The information in the My Health Record System will allow pharmacists to deliver more effective and efficient care, and it is great that all Australians will have the option to benefit from this,” said Dr Jackson.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, Mr George Tambassis said increased use of the system will result in sustainable healthcare delivery. “The Guild is committed to ensuring all pharmacy dispensing and medicine related services are fully integrated into My Health Record. By doing so we will help advance the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare,” said Mr Tambassis.

Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association (AHHA) CEO, Ms Alison Verhoeven applauded the Agency’s decision to expand the My Health Record platform while respecting a patient’s right to privacy. “Health care is a sensitive topic, and so it is only right Australians are given the right to decide how it is disclosed and who to. Patients are at the centre of My Health Record – realising the health benefits it enables and controlling those who have access to it. It’s a critical and exciting development in the progression of healthcare services in Australia,” said Ms Verhoeven.

More information on My Health Record can be found at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au.

People who do not want a My Health Record can opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone‐based assistance. Additional support is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non‐English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy, and those living in rural and remote regions.

Aged Care Disaster Management Planning

Strategic Priority Area: One team

North Coast is identified as the region most likely to be impacted by climate change in Australia and also forecasted greatest growth in those 65+.

Healthy North Coast takes a lead role in ensuring the older population and the sector that supports them are prepared for, can respond to and recover from disasters and other emergencies.

We have led eight regional disaster management capacity building workshops, bringing together SES, community organisations and the aged care sector.

We have also developed disaster preparedness tip sheets for both residential and community aged care providers.

Voluntary Assisted Dying

Strategic Priority Area: One team

In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022. Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying. 

Healthy North Coast has developed a webpage for both health professionals and consumers, with links to available information and resources.

Living with Dementia resources

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

Healthy North Coast has worked with people living with dementia, their families and local service providers to develop an information booklet that will help them connect with local and national supports along their journey.

The booklet includes commonly asked questions for people to ask their GP and/or specialist.

The resource is available in digital and printed copies, with more than 5,000 distributed across the region. An e-version is available to clinicians via the Dementia and Cognitive Impairment HealthPathway.

Deteriorating Resident Triage Tool Pilot

Strategic Priority Area: One team

The Deteriorating Resident Response Tool (DRRT) has been developed to guide RN’s in Residential Aged Care homes (RACHs) to better understand, anticipate and make clinical decisions responding to the deteriorating health of residents.

The objective of the DRRT is to give RACH staff clear information to triage and provide appropriate care for a range of residents’ health conditions, and, in turn, prevent unnecessary presentations to ED.

The tool has been designed together with a specialist geriatrician, consulting with stakeholders such as Residential Aged Care Managers, NSW Ambulance, GPs, and experts from Mid and North Coast LHDs.

The pilot commences in March with four participating RACHs. Evaluation measures will include effectiveness in building RN confidence and reported reduction in unnecessary hospitalisations. Findings will inform a future planned, region-wide implementation.

North Coast Care Finders Program

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

The Care Finders program is a free region-wide service to support vulnerable older people who have no-one else to help them, to learn about, apply for and set up support services.

Care finders can help people understand what aged care services are available, set up an assessment, and find and choose services. They also help people with access to other supports in the community, both accessing services for the first time and changing or finding new services and supports.

On the North Coast, Healthy North Coast has commissioned four organisations to provide this important service: EACH, Carexcell, Lifetime Connect and Footprints.

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Psychological services in residential aged care homes

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Healthy North Coast commissions two service providers to deliver psychological therapies and supports for older people with, or at risk of developing, a mental illness and who are living in residential aged care homes (RACHs).

The aim of the program is to both provide direct support to residents and their families and carers, as well as upskill the RACH workforce to respond to the needs of residents presenting with mental health concerns.

Social prescribing (Healthy Me Healthy Community)

Strategic Priority Area: Securing a Healthier Future

Delivered by Feros Care, the Healthy Me, Healthy Community program aims to build individual and community connections to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing in Port Macquarie.

The program helps people to connect with community, activities, supports and services that address their broader social determinants of health, as an alternative or supplement to a clinical approach.

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Digital Health in Residential Aged Care

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Timely access to primary health care professionals, whether through face-to-face consultation or telehealth, is recognised as an issue for many Residential Aged Care Homes (RACHs), that in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations. RACHs require adequate telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

Project goals

  • Assist participating RACHs to have appropriate telehealth facilities and equipment to enable their residents to virtually consult when needed with their primary health care professionals, specialists and other clinicians. 
  • Provide training to participating RACH staff to support them to have the capabilities to assist their residents in accessing virtual consultation services.
  • Encourage increased use of My Health Record by RACHs, to improve the availability and secure transfer of resident’s health care information between RACHs, primary care and acute care settings.
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Greater Choice at Home Palliative Care Program

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Aims to provide people who have life limiting conditions the opportunity to exercise choice and receive high quality care at home, harnessing improved and better coordinated supports and services that meet their individual needs.

Program objectives:

  • Improve access to palliative care at home and support end-of-life care systems and services (in primary health care and community care)
  • To enable the right care at the right time and in the right place (to reduce unnecessary hospitalisation)
  • Generate and use data to support continuous improvement of services across sectors
  • Use available technologies to support flexible and responsive palliative care at home, including in the after-hours.

These objectives will contribute to achieving the following intended overarching outcomes of:

  • Improved capacity and responsiveness of services to meet local needs and priorities
  • Improved patient access to quality palliative care services in the home
  • Improved coordination of care for patients across health care providers and integration of palliative care services in their region.

Education & training funding elibility

Funding is open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.

Workforce Locum support and R&R funding criteria

  • Available to primary care services in disaster impacted communities within the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Available to support short-term workforce coverage, allowing clinicians to rest and recover.
  • Workforce-support funding in total is capped for each site, over a 12-month period:
    • $10k for GPs and/or
    • $5K for nursing and/or
    • $5k administration support and/or
    • $5K allied/pharmacy and other.
  • Funding is not to be used to fill gaps in staffing that have not been able to recruit to and not to replace existing staff.
  • Healthy North Coast will assess requirements and approve available funding directly with the service requesting support.
  • Priority will be given to sites that have immediate, short-term workforce support needs.
  • Requests will be reviewed and supported on a case-by-case basis.
  • Program funding administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) to be paid monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever comes first).
  • Practices will be required to complete a request for payment form monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever occurs first).

Wellbeing Flexible Funding Criteria & Eligibility

  • Open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Activity must be purposeful, with the aim of increasing the wellbeing of your team.
  • Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with funding allocated based on team size.*
  • Following approval by Healthy North Coast, funding will be administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) upon providing proof of expenses.
  • Funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, or any other goods or services where the vendor cannot quote their Australian Business Number.
  • Planned activities must occur prior to 30th June 2024.
  • Funding will not be available for retrospective activities.
*Team Size
(Total staff and contractors)
Funding Available
Small (1-5)$500-$1500
Medium (6-20)$1500-$4000
Large (>20)$4000-$5000