‘Grey nomads can benefit from My Health Record’

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My Health Record
Would you like your health records online?

The debate over the electronic My Health Record system is one that is heating up and sharply dividing grey nomad opinion.

With Australians being given until October to opt out of the system if they choose to do so, the chief concerns of the ‘opter-outers’ centre around data security and the fact that My Health Record simply isn’t used widely enough yet to be effective and useful.

“We thought it was going to be great for us when we travelled but, in two years, we have not found a doctor who uses it,” said grey nomad couple Reiner and Karen Meyer. “It needs a lot more work!”

However, there is also a general acknowledgement that, in theory, grey nomads and other interstate travellers are among the groups who could benefit the most from a well-used and efficient electronic health record system.

A study conducted by researchers from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Wollongong in New South Wales found that seniors with chronic health conditions had poor continuity of care on their travels.

“The research showed these senior Australians were frustrated and anxious because of the fragmentation in the continuity of care,” PhD candidate Kaara Calma said. “Many of the GPs they would see were unable to access their health records, so they had to continually explain their conditions and list their medications – and in some cases had to retake the same tests as results could not be found.”

The project included an online survey and follow-up phone interviews with those aged over 60 travelling with a chronic condition.

“The research showed that there’s a real need to make sure we have an accurate electronic database in this country that is updated frequently so these travellers can feel safe and in control of their health,” said Ms Calma. “A lot of people travel for their physical and mental health, so we need to make it as convenient for them as possible for them to access health services.”

While all grey nomads will carefully weigh up the pros and cons of the system before deciding whether to make the effort to opt out or not, there is no doubt that many millions of extra Australians will find themselves automatically signed up to My Health Record in October.

And there is a hope in government circles and elsewhere that that in itself will help iron out some of the not inconsiderable teething troubles the system has been experiencing.

“I think My Health Record will improve as more people use it,” said long-term traveller, Brad Kark. “Hopefully, the completeness of the information will improve and the number of doctors and hospitals who can access it when required will grow.”

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3 Responses to ‘Grey nomads can benefit from My Health Record’

  1. First, we don’t have anything in our health records that we care about who does or doesn’t see them, they are just about health records, not wealth records.
    Second, for any system to work it needs to be used – if we opt out it won’t be used and won’t be made the best it can possibly be.

  2. The system can only work with doctor participation. We have travelled for six years and have even had medical staff tell us that they ‘can’t be bothered with it because they’re too busy to inpu info.’ The system needs to be streamlined and user friendly. The concept would certainly assist travellers Australia wide.

  3. It is a Health not wealth system, not sure what you mean, it is a collection of highly prized personal identifiable information, criminals use this to steal your identity and then drain you financially.

    The system is flawed and the changes proposed now make the system even more flawed. The system is now outdated. As travellers surely you have smart devices, your information can easily be held or your smart phone, loose it and a simple process and you can remotely wipe your phones data and simply restore on a new device.

    Have a read of this simple narrative

    My Health Record — a flawed initiative
    Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA)

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