Digital Health (eHealth) for consumers
Welcome to Digital Health (eHealth)
To better help you on your digital health (eHealth) journey click on any of the links below or scroll down to find information, video clips and downloadable content about the National My Health Record (MyHR) System. If you are a GP, pharmacist or allied health provider visit our Health and Technology page for Health Professionals by clicking here.
- What is digital health (eHealth)?
- About the My Health Record (MyHR) or formerly the PCEHR/eHealth Record
- Privacy and security
- Access and controls
- How to register
- More information
Digital Health or eHealth provides new ways of managing health information making healthcare more accessible regardless of where in Australia you live or travel.
eHealth as defined by the World Health Organisation is "the combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector".
The eHealth system within Australia is "the electronic management of health information to deliver safe, more efficient, better quality healthcare" (Department of Health).
A My Health Record is an electronic record that contains a summary of your key health information. Every time you visit a healthcare professional, hospital or other medical facility, important information about your health is created and stored at that location.
Currently it is hard to access and share this information with the health professionals involved in your care. You can add information to it and you can allow healthcare professionals to view this information and to add new information.
Key features of the eHealth record are:
- It is a secure, electronic record that contains a shared summary of your health information
- It can be accessed online anywhere, anytime by you, authorised healthcare providers and nominated people
- You control registration, cancellation, access and what is stored and shared in your eHealth record
Your My Health Record may contain key information such as:
- Medical History - diabetes, heart, stroke or other chronic conditions.
- Allergies and adverse reactions to medications
- Immunisations either for you or your children
- Current medications and dosages
- Shared health summary
- Discharge summary
- Test results
- Specialist letters
- Emergency contact details
Here is and example of what the Personal Health Summary section of an eHealth record looks like:
Your My Health Record (MyHR) consolidates your key health information, allowing you and your healthcare providers to easily view and manage your health information. This can make getting the right treatment faster, safer and easier.
Having an MyHR will mean you will not have to repeat your medical history every time you see a new doctor, even if that doctor is in a different state or territory.
If your doctor is participating in the MyHR system they will be able to access your medical history via your MyHR and simply confirm it with you, rather than asking you a series of questions over and over.
You can keep your own notes in your MyHR to better track your progress and response to treatments and medications, or to keep track of alternative therapies or remedies you may be taking.
The convenience of having an eHealth record means you will not have to remember every medication, dosage, test or health-related incident, or when a child was immunised.
If you wish, you can nominate a trusted person, such as a family member or carer, to view or manage information on your behalf. This could be particularly important for those with a long-term condition or who need high levels of healthcare and support from others.
Look for a poster like this:
Or a sticker like this:
Or ask your doctor.
Protecting Australian's private health information is a priority. The eHealth system is protected by existing and new legislation: The Privacy Act 1998 and The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2011.
Strict privacy and security measures have been applied to the eHealth record system. Your eHealth Record is protected by data security features such as:
- Audit trails - you can see who has looked at your eHealth record and when (this is not possible with paper based records)
- Technology and data management controls and ongoing security testing
- Security measures such as encryption, secure logins and passwords
In an emergency situation, a healthcare professional will be able to check your record without your permission. This will only be allowed in line with relevant laws, and if it is believed that your (or other people's) health or safety is at risk.
By default, all authorised healthcare professionals involved in your care will be able to view and upload documents in your eHealth Record.
You can change this at any time. If you have an Authorised Representative appointed (e.g. a carer) to your eHealth Record, they will have full control over the account.
Any Nominated Representatives you appoint will only be able to see documents according to the level of access you provide them with.
The National eHealth record system allows you to have significant control over your eHealth record including:
- Choosing who can access information in your eHealth record
- Setting controls around healthcare organisation access
- Applying greater controls to sensitive information
- Choosing which information is not viewable through your eHealth record
There are a number of ways you can register for an eHealth record:
- Online at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au
- Over the phone on 1800 723 471
- In person at a Department of Human Services Centre offering Medicare Services
- In writing by downloading an application form here
- At any healthcare provider organisation offering Assisted Registration (usually an eHealth-ready general practice)
- Phone our eHealth team on 1300 179 765
- Email our eHealth team at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au
The Digital Health team is available to your organisation or community group for training, information sessions and events. Contact us to discuss your requirements.
You can also read and download further information including brochures, essential information in a range of languages and Frequently Asked Questions by accessing our resources section here.