Myth Busting – When Your Patient Asks About My Health Record

As a healthcare provider, by now, you would have heard all about the My Health Record (MHR). Despite concerns about privacy and security, there has been a record number of people signing up for the MHR since opt-out commenced 16 July 2018.

Patients are recognising and appreciating that the benefits of having a MHR outweigh the risks. For example, interaction with the MHR system can:

  • Reduce duplication of tests.
  • Provide safer care with better patient outcomes through knowledge of allergies, potential drug interactions and contraindications when prescribing.
  • Reduce time gathering information so more quality time spent with patient.
  • Encourage patients to take more initiative and be more involved with their healthcare.
  • Provide 24/7 access to information.

On 31st July 2018, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, announced the Government will strengthen privacy provisions under the MHR Act to ensure that:

  • No record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.
  • If someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system.

There continues to be a lot of misinformation, untruths and misinterpretations of the MHR facts. It is important that healthcare providers and community members make an informed choice about whether or not they want a MHR.

Read below for some responses to MHR myths and frequently asked questions.

My Health Record: Frequently asked questions

There are thousands of registered organisations who can access My Health Record, however, only healthcare provider organisations involved in your care, who are registered with the My Health Record System Operator, are allowed by law to access your My Health Record.

This may include healthcare providers such as GPs, pharmacies, pathology labs, hospitals, specialists, and allied health professionals. You can allow others, such as a partner, child, parent or carer to access your Record by making them an authorised representative, or a nominated representative.

No government departments can directly access the My Health Record system.

Every time your My Health Record is accessed, it is recorded in an audit log which you can view by logging into your My Health Record. There are strict penalties for unlawful access.

Your previous medical history such as older tests and medical reports will not be available within your new My Health Record.

Medicare data can be added to your record. This includes:

  • Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) information stored by the Department of Human Services
  • Medicare and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS) information stored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Organ donation decisions
  • Immunisations that are included in the Australian Immunisation Register

You can ask your doctor to add a shared health summary to summarise your medical history, or add your own personal health summary.

You can log into your record at any time to change your settings, see who has accessed your record, hide documents, remove Medicare or PBS data or add emergency contacts and any allergies you may have.

As System Operator of the My Health Record system, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) takes its role as custodian of Australian’s health information seriously. Protecting the integrity of the My Health Record system and maintaining public confidence and trust in the system is paramount.

ADHA will consider any formal request on a case by case basis. However, their operating policy is to release information only where we are legally compelled to do so, including in the instance of receiving a court order.

The Agency would not permit access to a My Health Record in a scenario where a request to access the My Health Record system was for protecting public revenue.

Employers cannot access a My Health Record and would need to apply to ADHA for such access.

ADHA will not approve the release of an individual’s personal or health information to a third party except where it is related to the provision of healthcare or is otherwise authorised or required by law.

ADHA does not consider that an employment check is healthcare and therefore use of the My Health Record would not be permitted.

The use of My Health Record data solely for commercial and non-health related purposes is not permitted – your data will not be sold.

Some secondary uses of My Health Record system data may be possible for research and public health purposes from 2020. Learn more about this here.

You can choose not to have your data used for secondary use purposes by selecting the ‘withdraw participation’ function in your record.

Administration staff within your doctor’s office must be authorised by the medical practice to access the My Health Record system for the purposes of providing healthcare to you.

In the current health system, paper and digital records about you may be held in various health locations. There is no way you can currently track who has viewed, photocopied, faxed, shared or filed your medical information.

The addition of My Health Record to your doctor’s practice and process of care does not change the privacy and confidentiality obligations that practice staff are already subject to under Australian law.

The My Health Record system has the highest level of security and meets the strictest cyber security standards. It has robust multi-tiered security controls to protect the system from malicious attack.

The system has been built and tested to Australian Government standards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information within an individual’s My Health Record.

The Australian Digital Health Agency actively monitors and respond to threats and risks within the cyber security environment, and have a program of continuous improvement using the internationally recognised management framework, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

The System is monitored around the clock by the Australian Digital Health Agency Cyber Security Centre and has been tested by the Defence Departments Australian Signals Directorate.

If a person deliberately accessed an individual’s My Health Record without authorisation, criminal penalties may apply. These may include up to two years in jail and up to $126,000 in fines.

My Health Record cannot be accessed on the open internet. Healthcare provider organisations must be authorised to connect to the system and use clinical information software that conforms to the high standards set to protect data.

For more frequently asked questions, please visit: 

This myth busting article will help you get the facts about My Health Record. 

A few other links we recommend to visit are:

For more information, contact NCPHN at [email protected] or (02) 6618 5400, or visit or phone 1800 723 471.

NCPHN is seeking community members to share their experience of My Health Record. They could enter the draw to win one of 2 x $100 shopping vouchers (prize drawn 15 October 2018).

To find out how you can refer a patient, click here.


HealthPathways has recently added a My Health Record pathway that can give you the information you need as a practitioner about My Health Record.

Click here to visit the HealthPathway for My Health Record.

For a list of all localised pathways see:

Mid and North Coast Localised Pathways

Username: manchealth
Password: conn3ct3d

For further information about HealthPathways email [email protected] or [email protected].

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