Don’t opt out if rural

The National Rural Health Alliance, Australia’s body for rural and remote health, is urging all country people to embrace My Health Record.

Alliance CEO Mark Diamond says while country people can opt out of My Health Record from this week, he implores them not to.

“Simply put, My Health Record can save lives,” he said.

“Australians living in rural and remote areas are more likely to end up in an emergency department from a heart attack, car accident or diabetic coma.

“If they’re unconscious, and the medical team doesn’t have access to their health history, the team may not be able to provide life-saving care.”

The Alliance says country people are 25 per cent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease, 40 per cent more likely to die from diabetes, and five times as likely to die from a road accident in remote areas.

“If you live outside a major city, you have less access to health services, and are more likely to delay getting medical treatment,” Mr Diamond said. “That means you’re more likely to end up being hospitalised.

“A My Health Record means that all your important health information is at the fingertips of your doctor, nurse or surgeon.”

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President Dr Shane Jackson says My Health Record will empower people to take ownership of their health information by managing privacy and controlling who has access to their health information.

“Pharmacists now will be able to more actively support patients with their medication management needs, especially those with complex chronic disease,” he said.

“These patients often take multiple medications, and a connected My Health Record system will ensure healthcare professionals have the information they need at the point of care to support patients with their healthcare.

“Pharmacists have a vital role to play wherever medicines are used, and PSA is collaborating with the agency to help pharmacists guide their patients through this important decision.

“The information in My Health Record will allow pharmacists to provide better-coordinated care for their patients, which is why over 3,200 pharmacies are already connected to the system.”

A My Health Record will automatically be created for all Australians by the end of the year, unless they opt out. The opt-out period has begun and runs until Monday, October 15.

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