New e-health record better for older Australians 169



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Doctors say older Australians have nothing to fear and they should benefit from a revised electronic medical records system to be formally announced in the Federal Budget.

All Australians will have an electronic health record and will have to ‘opt out’ if they don’t want one.

The Government is spending $485 million to change the myHealth Record system introduced by the former Labor Government after a review found less than one in 10 patients ‘opted in’ to the original scheme.

Minister for Health Susan Ley said a functioning national electronic medical records system would ensure medical practitioners across the country had instant access to information needed to treat patients safely and efficiently without having to “gamble on unknowns” in their medical history.

“I recognise the benefits of having your family’s personal health information safely stored and accessible to healthcare providers. In the case of allergic reactions or medicine emergencies, having fast access to critical health data could be a matter of life or death,” the Minister said.

And the Australian Medical Association agrees.

Starts at Sixty spoke with Dr Brian Morton, a GP with 30 years experience who is the Chair of General Practice for the AMA.

Dr Morton told us the ‘opt out’ e-health record will be much better for transferring patient information between health centres like hospital to hospital and it will prevent unnecessary duplicate testing for patients particularly for pathology and radiology.

“With simple things like blood tests, if you’ve had the test done in hospital your GP doesn’t have to repeat it and vice versa,” Dr Morton said.

And the AMA believes there could be better medical outcomes for patients.

“It can readily improve your care – if an abnormal result is found in a previous test, the doctor at a hospital would know where to look which is the next step in the process of getting an accurate diagnosis,” according to Dr Morton.

Doctors concede the e-health records will only be as good as the information uploaded to a patient’s file and that will take time.

And what about the question of privacy? The AMA is confident there’ll be a high level of security and encryption for e-health records. Of greater concern, is the risk of a patient ‘opting out’ by concealing important medical information which could be vital in an emergency situation.

Tell us what you think. If e-health records are good enough for the highly respected Australian Medical Association, are they good enough for you? Are you happy for your medical file to be shared if it could save your life?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. would i share “if” it could save my life? small word “if”, maybe i should ask would i share my medical records “if” they were going to be missused and sold on? NO!

  2. Any doctor who puts information on the computer should be 100% accountable for its security. If any personal or private medical information is ‘leaked’ by anyone, the doctor who stored this information should be held responsible even if it is a ‘hacker’ who obtains the information. Privacy and security is paramount. Insurance companies and employers will love this.

  3. no I don’t want it.. others who like this idea can be the guinea pigs. I will have a wait and see approach

    5 REPLY
    • I was hospitalised with a sudden emergency i was suffering from ventricular tachycardia i could not speak i could not breath properly giving the hospital any information was impossible..fortunately for me i had been a patient of that hospital prior and they were able to access the information…I couldnt even give them my husbands name and telephone number so they could contact him as the onset if this very dangerous condition occured whilst i was out driving. If i had been in another hospital area it would have been extremley difficult for the treating hospital…I am a staunch advocate of E health and dont mind my medical records being accessed i do not have any weird and wonderfull diseases that need to be kept secret…my allergies are there for alk to see so i wont be given penicillan and make matters worse.. may i suggest you look past you infantile paranoia and think on the advantages.

    • they are getting worse Leanna, now they resort to name calling if you don’t agree with them about your personal information..get out of here

  4. I am in agreement with this suggestion.If you need to see a doctor other than your own he/she will have access to your records therefore making it easier to treat you.Will also save some people money as a lot of doctors charge a fee to have your records sent to another doctor if you move.

  5. You are paranoid . What esryhly ude would your medical records be to anyone other than a doctor that was treating you .I travel aroubd a lot and rarely go to the same doctor for more than 2or3 visits .it makes the consultation longer,because i have to explain my history each time.It also results in more frequent expensive blood tests as the information is not available to each new doctor.

    11 REPLY
    • I dunno about us being paranoid but on reading sound demented, it is very difficult to read when you spelt most of it incorrectly and it doesn’t make sense..You might travel I can read that, but I have had the same doctor for the last 30 years 🙂

    • Very rude Leanna Stephenson – I can read it easily and gather that Ian is a grey nomad, so would not be seeing the same doctor for the 30 years you are so proud of.It is easy to make mistakes if you haven’t got a desk or a decent light in your van but it is really not important to get the message across

    • Like Ann Head, I understand Ian’s message perfectly and I don’t think he meant to be rude by saying we were paranoid, since some people will be paranoid about this matter. Bottom line: it’s our choice whether or not we agree with it and to be paranoid too if we wish to. Nothing wrong with a dose of healthy paranoia!

    • I just got here facebook has been down but calling people paranoid because they are cautious is not nice ..Ian started the name calling, I don’t travel either and my doctor is old, he is a brilliant man but I would prefer others try this first.. we are not to know your grey nomads..this may surprise you but we don’t know you and also he has corrected it

    • you don’t know dare you call anyone paranoid and Anne head you and I an are the rude ones..Ian started this childish name calling because people don’t agree with him

    • You all sound like a bunch of 3 year old fighting over a toy in the sandpit! Grow up! If you have nothing of value to share then dong comment!

  6. This is great if you are travelling within Australia. No more having to sit in a new Dr’s surgery and having to explain why you need a certain medication or tell him/her your medical history.

  7. Will employers and insurance company’s be able to get access to my health records??

    3 REPLY
    • no idea, that is why I will wait and see what happens..I would never have made a good parachute tester lol

    • I don’t think that would happen! That would breach privacy! I think it is simply for doctors only! Otherwise it would be open slather! I feel confident it will only be for MO’s

    • You actually get to choose who is able to see your information, such as nurses, hospital, specialists, and dentists and doctors. So no insurance companies and employers are not Evan on the list.

  8. I’d be happy for my medical records to be electronically accessible to any health professional who might be treating me. I’m sure the process would be well controlled to ensure privacy

  9. Sorry, I’ll be opting out. My medical history is not that complex, and if my doctor is not available I see another one at the same practice who can access my records freely. When they can give me a 100% guarantee that the records are secure, I will rethink it. In the meantime, I can understand people with a detailed medical history, and travellers might find this very useful.

  10. I would hate to think that my personal information could be hacked by anyone with the knowhow. Doctors should be able to telephone previous institutions or surgeries to find out what they know. But when this information is stored who knows where in the clouds, it could become very available to anyone with ulterior motives.

    4 REPLY
    • It takes up valuable time ringing previous drs up. In an emergency that is the last thing hospital staff need to be doing. Having it all online in the one spot will be brilliant for emergency situations in hospitals particularly.

    • Morvyth Howard .If your worried about your information “being hacked ” destroy your computer and smart phone NOW .because if they seriously want your information they can get enough from those 2 items that you use every day .

    • And if it is an emergency…then no one has the time to ring previous doctors etc ..that is of course presuming you are concious and able to speak to give the person treating you the relevent information???? And what id that doctor is NOT in the office????.

    • waiting and seeing what happens won’t kill us, to those that want it great, good on you but we don’t all have to think the same about everything

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