Nearly 23 million Aussies have a My Health Record, but only 13 million are using it

The online medical file has around 1.8 billion documents in it.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Medicine doctor touching electronic medical record on tablet. DNA. Digital healthcare and network connection on hologram modern virtual screen interface, medical technology and network concept.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has once again allocated praise to the country's online medical file, touting that the number of people with a My Health Record sits at 22.71 million.

Although that number is near 23 million, and Australia's population was nearly 25.5 million as at 30 September 2019, the number of people that are actually using the bungled electronic record is only 13.6 million.

In announcing Australia was rushing through its electronic prescription service on Tuesday, ADHA said My Health Record already makes "critical health information available when it's most needed".

"In Australia, evidence shows there are more than 250,000 hospital admissions annually as a result of medication-related problems. Many of these are associated with poor availability of medicines information especially at transitions of care," it said.

"My Health Record is improving this access to medicines information and is an integrated record of what medicines patients are taking to ensure the most safe and effective care."

ADHA said My Health Record has a total of 1.81 billion documents in it, with only 13.6 million records containing that information. These include prescription and dispense information, Pharmacist Shared Medicines Lists, medical history, allergies, pathology and diagnostic imaging test results, immunisations, as well as hospital discharge summaries.

The ADHA added that more than 90% of pharmacies and GPs have registered onto My Health Record, and 94% of public hospital beds are connected.

There are currently more than 112 million of the documents relate to medicine, which ADHA has explained as being "prescribe and dispense"; almost 40 million pathology reports; around 6 million diagnostic imaging reports; over 6 million discharge summaries; and more than 4 million shared health summaries.

During Senate Estimates last year, of those who had a record created automatically for them on 22 February 2019, 30,402 had subsequently cancelled their record as at 14 April 2019. On the first day of the opt-out window, 20,000 people chose not to have a digital health record. 

The ADHA in January last year said 6.45 million individuals had a My Health Record. At the time, the agency said that almost half a million of these accounts had been created on purpose by Australians, with the remainder automatically set up by the government during its trial periods.

Many that had a record created for them have found they cannot delete it easily.


AMA says almost all Australians have a My Health Record but not everyone is using it

The AMA's federal president has said the number of records doesn't mean anything if there's nothing in it.

Australian Digital Health Agency reveals two 'probable' instances of Medicare fraud

The My Health Record system operator said it was 'probable' that on two occasions the federal government's myGov portal was used to conduct Medicare fraud.

My Health Record 'breaches' mostly fixing mismatched Medicare records

The breaches were mostly the result of data integrity activity initiated by Services Australia to identify intertwined Medicare records, rather than unauthorised access for nefarious activity.

Could blockchain be the answer for Australia's digital health record?

With privacy and security concerns still plaguing My Health Record, Gartner fellow and VP David Furlonger ponders a future where blockchain could actually help.

Editorial standards