Although it sounds like a buzzword that the media has chosen to run with, eHealth has a very real purpose in Australia. In NSW, the eHealth system was established to provide state-wide leadership on the shape, delivery and management of ICT-led healthcare. The system makes it possible for healthcare practitioners to access online health information for patients regardless of where in the state they live.

However, “eHealth” has also become a term used to describe the broader digital health initiatives that have been introduced across the country to help digitise medical information and data, thus reducing storage costs and lack of communication.

Digital health is the electronic management of health information, designed to help deliver safer, more efficient and better quality healthcare. Patient information can be stored in a secure digital system so healthcare practitioners can access records from anywhere within the country.

My Health Record

Australia-wide, the government are implementing the My Health Record system. As part of the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government announced that by the end of 2018, every Australian will have a My Health Record, unless they choose not to have one.

The system tracks a person’s medications, diagnosed illnesses, treatments, allergies and tests. Each person can control what goes onto their My Health Record, and who is allowed to see it. For healthcare providers, knowing more about a patient’s medical history can lead to a better understanding of what is happening, and result in better treatment decisions.

The system requires Australians to manually register for the service. To do this, you’ll need a myGov account. You will be able to change your preferences, hide documents you don’t want people to see and see which healthcare organisations or professionals have accessed your record. You will not be able to change information regarding the medications you’re taking, your allergies, or access someone else’s record.

The initiative is in compliance with National E-Health Transition Authority and other nationally agreed standards to improve the availability of information in the health sector.