My Health Record and Patient Consent

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) supports the vision for a national electronic health record. The current national system is My Health Record.  In 2017, the Australian Government announced that in 2018, every person with a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) card who has not already registered for a My Health Record will automatically have one created for them, unless they choose to opt out of the system.

People often ask about the rights of patients and consent with respect to the My Health Record.

My Health Record: Types of Consent in the Health Industry

In the health industry, there are 3 types of consent:

  • Implied
  • Express
  • Standing

Standing consent means any health care professional can access My Health Record without asking permission every time of the patient.

This method doesn’t impact on patient rights however.  At any time, patients can request that certain medical treatment or records not be uploaded to My Health Record, and further are able to remove documents from the Record, or even lock down the Record, by opting out of My Health Record.

Standing consent was chosen because it was regarded as the type which would least interfere with workflow and allow professional to do what they need to do.  Too time consuming to ask for permission every time.

Healthcare providers are under no obligation to make a decision about whether to upload information to My Health Record on behalf of patients, and should not unilaterally override a patient’s standing consent. All decisions to upload content to My Health Record should be considered with reference to this principle.

Wesley Medical Administration students study Accredited Unit of Competency BSBMED303  Maintain Patient Records as part of their studies.  This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to maintain patient records within an existing medical records management system, including important legislation which underpins practice policies and procedures.    Understanding patient consent is an important part of the knowledge required to manage patient records in a health care setting.

Patient Centred Care