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17 Aug 2018



In my last column, I gleefully mused about what an enjoyable evening I had watching the understated spectacle of the Royal Wedding on Saturday 19th May 2018.

What I didn’t mention was the unexpected interruption to my Saturday evening at 9.55 PM precisely with an email in my Inbox from AHPRA.

My immediate reaction should have been one of relief that the good souls at AHPRA were burning the midnight oil catching up with the back-log of complaints so that they can all be dealt with in a timely fashion.

But no, the Royal Wedding was still on the ‛telly’ and I thought that history in-the-making just wouldn’t be the same if I paused and watched the Royal Wedding in catch-up mode.

My paranoia then set in. Could this email from AHPRA be about another vexatious complaint?

Had I failed to delete another favourable post on Facebook, I wondered?

I knew, though, that it must have been a very important message to disrupt myself and countless other doctors on a weekend.

Taking a closer look, though, the message had actually been sent by AHPRA on behalf of the Australian Digital Health Agency advising that, “This year, every Australian will get a My Health Record unless they tell us they don’t want one”.

I was aware that the esteemed organisation and publisher of this column, the AMA, was supportive of the MHR, but I still wasn’t sure why I was being told about all of this on a Saturday evening, and during the Royal Wedding.

Then I realised that the opportunity to opt-out of My Health Record ends on 15th October 2018.  Well, the Australian Digital Health Agency better get onto telling us about it, hadn’t they?

And no worries at all that most of my patients have no knowledge at all about their digital data going online, and myself and my colleagues are still unsure about what will be shared.

After hearing that the largest online appointment booking app (HealthEngine) was sharing data with law firms, marketers, and other entities, I can understand the general public’s reservations about who has access to their health data.

Curiously, HealthEngine still has a data-sharing arrangement with the Federal Government’s My Health Record.

And, going forward, who knows who will want access with one major health fund (NIB) already stating, “We desperately need this data!”

Could all of this just be another example of how inevitable digital disruption is in our lives?

Instead of pushbikes, would Uber be delivering midwives to those home-birthing mothers?

Would Google reviews eventually replace my CPD?

But, in a digital world that operates around the clock, I’ve learnt to avoid sending emails, texts, tweets etc after close of business.

I may be awake at 3 AM and have finally found inspiration, but there is no way that I would share my thoughts after midnight lest I find myself compared with a certain US President.

So, as I delved into the fine print associated with My Health Record, I have discovered that I can be registered under a pseudonym.

I noted that DisappointedVoter and AngryTaxpayer were almost certainly taken by now.

But I was sure that DoctorCamShaft would be mine for the taking as I had the forethought to grab this moniker when Hotmail first launched in 1996.

The automotive world also targets consumers by using big data for marketing opportunities.

Setting up a bridal registry, searching on Google for a pram, or posting on social media that someone just passed their driving test all suggest life events which may trigger the purchase of a vehicle.

Trawling through this sort of data is said to be 10 times more effective than a traditional marketing campaign.

In my humble opinion, the Federal Government’s decision to make the My Health Record mandatory unless an individual advises that “they … don’t want one” should be coming with a lot more explanation.

Safe motoring,

Doctor Clive Fraser


Published: 17 Aug 2018