People living in Mount Isa will soon discover a digital improvement in healthcare called “My Health Record” to help manage their health and wellbeing.

The Australian Digital Health Agency is visiting Mount Isa to inform regional stakeholders about the system.

Every Australian will be offered a My Health Record at the end of 2018 unless they choose not to have one during the three month opt out period that will run from July 16 to October 15, 2018. 

Nearly 5.9 million Australians already have a My Health Record.

My Health Record is a secure, online summary of health information that can be viewed online - anywhere, anytime.

A person can access their My Health Record from a computer or mobile device that’s connected to the internet. My Health Record stores health information in one place, easily accessed by doctors, specialists, hospitals and other registered health service providers with the permission of the patient.

Agency Chief Medical Adviser Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record is an important tool for people in Western Queensland with its diverse range of consumers and providers.

“My Health Record enables important health information including allergies, medical conditions, medicines, pathology and imaging reports to be accessed through one system,” she said.

“My Health Record will benefit patients who have chronic and complex conditions and typically have a number of different practitioners contributing to their care. Healthcare providers are also able to make better informed clinical decisions as they have access to a wider range of health information.

The Western Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN) is partnering with the Agency to support the uptake of My Health Record across Western Queensland. Western Queensland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Gordon said awareness by WQPHN stakeholders has been focused on highlighting how digital health innovation in Australia can benefit rural and remote communities.

“My Health Record helps healthcare providers respond to many of the challenges faced by people who live in the isolated rural towns,” Mr Gordon said.

“The north western region comprises large numbers fly-in-fly-out workers, while the lower gulf region has significant indigenous populations living in remote communities. 

“Given the workforce challenges health care providers experience in the region, it is envisaged that a strong uptake of My Health Record in Western Queensland will assist in bringing consistency to patients’ experience with a health network that has with many clinicians.”

Mr Gordon said Western Queensland PHN was eager to begin its planned engagement with ATSI people and other consumers and stakeholders across the region. 

“My Health Record also stands to improve patient interaction for primary health care providers as well as pharmacies and hospital staff,” he said.

Agency CEO Tim Kelsey will also meet with local health organisations in Mount Isa to emphasise the security benefits of having a My Health Record. Mr Kelsey said My Health Record will provide the security and privacy that Australians expect, including the ability to choose if they are happy to share their data for health care improvement and research.

“Strict privacy controls, set by the individual, is a central feature of My Health Record. Each person can control the information in their My Health Record, they can control the health care providers that can have access, and they can choose if they do not want the information to be used for secondary purposes,” Mr Kelsey said.

A My Health Record will be created for every Australian by the end of 2018, unless they choose not to have one.