While hundreds of public hospitals are officially signed up for the My Health Record (MHR) system, many are not geared up to use it in practice.
Latest figures from the Australian Digital Health Agency show that 700 public hospitals and health services are connected to the MHR system, but figures vary widely between states and territories.
In Queensland, 100% of the 311 public hospitals and health services are connected to the MHR system, but only a third (114) are able to upload to the system.
And in Tasmania, 17 of the 20 public hospitals and health services are connected to the MHR system but none of them can view it.
NSW appears to be the most MHR-ready, with 93% of 208 public hospitals able to view and upload to the MHR system. In contrast only 35% of public hospitals in Victoria and 14% in South Australia are connected.
The ADHA has released a list of individual hospitals that are now able to send discharge summaries for patients.
In the private sector, only 6% of 341 private day hospitals are connected to the MHR system, according to ADHA data for October 2018. Some private health providers have high rates of MHR connection, with overall rates of 55% for private hospitals and clinics.
On 26 November, following concerns about privacy and the MHR, the Australian parliament passed changes to legislation that extend the MHR opt-out period until January 2019.
The ADHA says other changes in the legislation will:
- Allow Australians to permanently delete their records, and any backups, at any time.
- Explicitly prohibit access to My Health Records by insurers and employers.
- Provide greater privacy for teenagers 14 years and over.
- Strengthen existing protections for people at risk of family and domestic violence.
- Clarify that only the Agency, the Department of Health and the Chief Executive of Medicare (and no other government agency) can access the My Health Record system.
- Explicitly require law enforcement and other agencies to produce a court order to access information in My Health Records.
- Make clear that the system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes.