In 2012 the Australian Government commenced a digital health record system known as My Health Record. In May 2017, the Government announced that the system would transition into an ‘opt-out’ basis, rather than ‘opt-in’ due to a lack of uptake. This means that unless they opt out by 31 January 2019, every Australian (including children) now has a My Health Record. This includes your health information such as healthcare providers you have seen, treatments you have received, and medicines you have been prescribed.
All children and young people will have a My Health Record unless their parent has opted-out for them before 31 January 2019.
In most cases any person with parental responsibility (as determined by Medicare) for a child can be authorised to access the child’s My Health Record. This raises concerns for families at risk of family violence. For example, where a parent and children have escaped violence, their location is often unknown; however by accessing the child’s My Health Record, the perpetrator of the violence may discover the whereabouts of the parent and children, and location of their treating health practitioners. This is an unforeseen, but very real, risk which should be considered by parents before the 31 January 2019 deadline.