Guide to Australian HIV Laws and Policies for Healthcare Professionals

My Health Record

The My Health Record is an online summary, of an individual’s health information, accessible to any healthcare professional involved in the individual’s care. It portends significant benefits for individuals in having their health information more easily accessible. The ability to select which documents are seen by whom allows the record to be tailored to individual preferences, so people who have experienced stigma and are sometimes criminalised due to their BBV status, drug use or sex work experience, can confidently engage with the system.  Questions remain about the security of the system, de-identification of data for research purposes, as well as the complexity of competently navigating the access controls.

A clear understanding of the system’s operation, privacy access control features and the checks-and-balances, including through the use of pin codes – and the ability to opt-out of secondary use is crucial. Patients can then make an informed decision about engaging with My Health Record. Healthcare providers can play a crucial role in talking through with their patients these different facets, to help them decide if/how much to engage in the My Health Record. Clinicians need to be aware that a patient may feel compelled to follow their direction about whether or not to engage with the record, so having an open discussion in a judgment-free manner is very important.