My Health Record is the Commonwealth government’s scheme to digitise health records and includes information regarding your treatment, medication and where you have accessed health care facilities in Australia. If you do not wish to have your details made available you will need to opt-out of the record by 31 January 2019.
While many people aren’t fazed by this, it’s important to realise two things with regards to Family Law:
- That records will be created for children and young people unless a parent has opted-out on their behalf, and
- Any person who currently has parental responsibility for the child may access the record and therefore there is a risk that the location/ address of a child or young person will be disclosed.
It’s important to be aware of this, especially if you have concerns for your own safety or that of your family, or if there are concerns pertaining to domestic violence.
The Australian Digital Health Agency will use data from Medicare in order to understand who has parental responsibility for the child and those people will therefore have access to the record as authorised representatives. Under the Family Law Act 1975, it is assumed that each parent of the child has parental responsibility (powers to make decisions about the child).
Due to the concern for safety of victims of domestic violence, new amendments were passed in November 2018 to prevent an individual becoming an authorised representative under the following conditions:
- The individual is subject to a court order or law in Australia which outlines that they must be supervised while spending time with the child or young person or
- The life, health or safety of the healthcare recipient or another person would be at risk if the individual were to become an authorised representative.
However, it is the responsibility of those who have safety concerns to notify the Australian Digital Health Agency and provide relevant documentation. It is also not yet clear what evidence is necessary to satisfy that there is a risk.
- In practice this means that even if there is a current ADVO or parenting orders, that the individual subject to these orders may still be an authorised representative unless the concerned person flags this with the Agency.
If you have concerns about your details being accessed by another party who poses a risk to you, you may need to seek legal advice.