My Health Record
Members may have seen recent reports about the Federal Government’s new “My Health Record”.
My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information.
When you have a My Health Record, your health information can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time – even if you move or travel interstate. You can access your health information from any computer or device that’s connected to the internet.
Whether you’re visiting a GP for a check-up, or in an emergency room following an accident and are unable to talk, healthcare providers involved in your care can access important health information without limitation, such as:
- all medical test results such as pathology/ blood tests.
- all past medication lists and medicines you are taking
- x rays
- treating doctors
- all medical conditions you have been diagnosed with
The federal government contends this can help you get the right treatment. You don’t need to be sick to benefit from having a My Health Record. The federal government contends it’s a convenient way to record and track your health information over time.
This year, you will get a My Health Record unless you tell the federal government you don’t want one.
If you don't have a My Health Record, and don't want one created for you, you can opt out between 16 July and 15 October 2018. Find out how you can opt out here.
The issue for members of the QPU is Section 70 of the My Health Records Act provides for the grounds that your My Health Record can be released.
It reads, (QPU’s emphasis added):
“70 Disclosure for law enforcement purposes, etc.
(1) The System Operator is authorised to use or disclose health information included in a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record if the System Operator reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary for one or more of the following things done by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body:
(a) the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law;
(b) the enforcement of laws relating to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;
(c) the protection of the public revenue;
(d) the prevention, detection, investigation or remedying of seriously improper conduct or prescribed conduct;
(e) the preparation for, or conduct of, proceedings before any court or tribunal, or implementation of the orders of a court or tribunal.
As you can see, the mere investigation of a criminal offence or breach of law, or the investigation or remedying of seriously improper conduct or prescribed conduct are legitimate grounds for investigators to access your My Health Record.
This means that any police officer under investigation for a criminal offence or under investigation for seriously improper conduct will have their My Health Record be able to be accessed by investigators.
This means that your My Health Record may be able to be accessed if you are being investigated for disciplinary matter.
The QPU will never tell you to “opt out” or “stay in”, that is your choice entirely however be aware if you do not opt out of My Health Record that investigators such as ESC or the CCC will be able to access your My Health Record as a matter of course without warrant, without your knowledge or without even your permission or consent.
To be clear, the QPU is not specifically suggesting you should opt out of the My Health Record. The QPU would never tell you what to do. The decision to “opt out” or “stay in” is entirely yours and yours alone.
The QPU is simply bringing to your attention the possible uses that your record can be put to.
There are police officers and QPU members who like to keep their medical history confidential, and there are others who might be put at risk of a medical assessment pursuant to the PSAA, s8.3 if the QPS came into possession of their medical records.
There are other police officers and QPU members who take the view there is a distinct health advantage to having ready access to medical records in the event they are a patient in an emergency situation or require urgent medical treatment.
The QPU simply wishes all police and QPU members to be aware of the scheme and be in a position to make an informed choice.
The QPU wants to avoid a situation arising where a police officer is investigated by the ESC or CCC for a minor discipline matter unrelated to their health, cleared of that matter, but as a result of ESC or CCC accessing medical records, the police officer then faces a s8.3 proceeding, simply because the QPU failed to bring the possibility to the attention of its members.
Ultimately the decision is yours. The QPU also fully appreciates the advantages this type of access may have for all police investigators as well. However the QPU tries to inform its members of matters which may have an impact on their careers, so that members can make informed choices.