Communication, Privacy, eHealth and My Health Record
Our practice adopts eHealth practices wherever practicable to streamline processes, improve communication and maintain the security of patient information.
- using secure messaging systems including Argus, HealthLink and MedicalObjects to send and receive encrypted communications between healthcare providers
- being registered to access and upload information to My Health Record
We respect patient privacy. All patients are provided with a privacy consent form which details the collection and use of personal information, and explains how this information will be used by this practice.
How is secure messaging used?
Secure messaging systems including Argus, HealthLink and MedicalObjects are used by our practice to send patient letters to your referring doctor. In many instances your doctor may send his or her referral to our practice via these systems. These electronic systems are faster and more secure than the traditional methods of fax or mail and use no paper. These messaging systems are encrypted so they are more secure than standard email.
What is the My Health Record?
"My Health Record is the new name of the national digital health record system. Having a My Health Record means your important health information like allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test or scan reports can be digitally stored in one place."
If you have a My Health Record this means that your treating doctor and our practice nurses can access your My Health Record at any time when we need to, unless you tell us that you do not want us to access it, or you set your privacy settings to restrict our access. We can also manually upload an Event Summary that contains important summary information about your treatment (including, for example, the type of prosthesis used in your surgery, or your pathology results). If results and Specialist Letters are uploaded to your My Health Record this means that if you visit another doctor in the future there is a record, which you have access to, of what happened in the past. We do not currently upload Specialist Letters to your My Health Record as our software vendor has not developed this functionality.
What the My Health Record is not
The My Health Record does not replace electronic health record systems held by your treating doctors and practitioners. It does not replace secure messaging systems used by your referring doctor and Melbourne Hand Surgery to communicate about your care.
Only a selected portion of the information that is held in your medical records will be uploaded to your My Health Record. For example, your general practitioner may upload a summary document of your health, but will not upload details about about every consultation that you have.
Similarly, your consultation notes from Melbourne Hand Surgery will not be uploaded to My Health Record. We do not anticipate that every consultation or procedure will result in an upload of information to your My Health Record.
You can request that a specialist upload specialist letters and summary information to your My Health Record, and you can also request that he or she not upload information to your My Health Record. However, uploading information is a manual process that is undertaken by your healthcare provider, and just as only a minority of Australians currently have a My Health Record, many healthcare providers are currently unable to access to My Health Record. Melbourne Hand Surgery is able to access and upload documents to My Health Record, but other specialists may not be able to.
The My Health Record does not replace the need for you to
- provide a referral, if you wish to receive Medicare Benefits for your treatment
- bring scans or x-rays and CDs of radiology investigations to your consultation
How can I register for a My Health Record?
Visit the My Health Record website here for instructions on how to register for a My Health Record.
How do I consent to the use of My Health Record?
If you have a My Health Record you are taken to have given consent for your healthcare providers to access your My Health Record as part of your healthcare. If you do not wish for us to access your My Health Record you can a) set access controls on your My Health Record, or b) advise us that you do not wish for us to access your My Health Record. If you do not wish for us to upload information to your My Health Record please advise us.
If you do not wish for any healthcare provider to access or upload information to your My Health Record then we recommend that you contact the Australian Digital Health Agency to cancel your My Health Record.
We may access your My Health Record while you are an active patient of this practice, for the purposes of:
- accessing your Shared Health Summary, Specialist Letters or Event Summaries (should any exist)
- uploading an Event Summary
- uploading a Specialist Letter (once our software vendor develops this functionality)
You can monitor which healthcare organisations have accessed or updated your My Health Record by checking online or by calling the Australian Digital Health Agency on 1800 723 471.
What information may be included in an Event Summary?
If we upload an Event Summary to your My Health Record it will identify our practice as the organisation that uploaded the information, and may include:
- the date of your procedure or surgery
- your pathology or radiology report(s)
- details of any adverse reaction(s), such as a reaction to antibiotics or analgesic medications
If you detect that any of the information is incorrect you can request that we remove the Event Summary. We can then upload an Event Summary with the correct information. It is not possible to edit documents that have been uploaded to My Health Record, but they can be deleted and replaced.
What information may be included in a Specialist Letter?
If we upload a Specialist Letter to your My Health Record it will identify our practice as the organisation that uploaded the letter. The letter will contain the words in the letter written by Dr Tomlinson to your referring doctor and any interested parties (for example, your hand therapist). It may include your contact details, descriptions of your symptoms, your hand diagnosis, your proposed treatment plan, your medications, your medical problems, your pathology or radiology results and details of your examination findings.
Any Specialist Letters that are uploaded to the My Health Record system are uploaded on the basis that they may be useful to you or to a party other than the person or persons that the letter is addressed to.
MANAGING ACCESS, PRIVACY AND SECURITY WITHIN MY HEALTH RECORD