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My Health Record is an online database, operated by the Australian Government, designed to keep all your medical records in one place. A record will be created for every Australian resident with a Medicare Card, unless you say no.

Five million people already have their health information in My Health Record. There is now a three-month period — from 16 July to 15 October — for people to opt out by closing their record or stop one being created.

So what are the benefits, and the risks of having your health record online?

This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of having your health information online in My Health Record. This will help you decide whether or not you want a record created for you.

If you want a record in My Health Record, you don’t need to do anything. After October 2018, health services will upload the past two years of your Medicare and pharmacy records into the system.

Once a record is created, you can access it online with a personal access code, where you can add, restrict access or ‘deactivate’ information and apply control features and monitor who has access to your record. However, in an emergency, or where your or another person’s safety is a concern, health workers can ask for any restricted access features to be lifted for five days.

You can also add personal health summaries, allergy information, care plan information, Indigenous status information and other personal information you choose to share.

Our thanks to Hepatitis New South Wales for preparing the paper on which this article is based.

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