Mental Health Consumer and Carer FAQs
Following are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers to help consumers and healthcare professionals better understand Australia's new eHealth record system and how having an eHealth record could benefit you over time.
The attached PDF documents contain detailed FAQs - both general in nature, and specific to the needs of particular demographic and professional groups.
Mental health consumer and carer FAQs
What is a personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record?An eHealth record is an electronic summary of your health information. You and your chosen health services can access your eHealth record via the internet whenever you need, from wherever you are. You decide what information goes in it and who is able to see which parts of your record.
What information will be in my eHealth record?Your eHealth record will contain summary electronic documents and information that you decide are important for your health, storing them in an easily accessible electronic format. It will keep health information such as your medical conditions, mental health history, medications, allergies and immunisations.
Your eHealth record will build up over time and eventually hold information about your prescriptions, test results, outcomes from inpatient hospital stays, interactions with GPs, community-based health and mental health organisations and specialist letters.
How will an eHealth record help me get better mental health care?Being in control of your general and mental health information puts you at the centre of your care and recovery journey.
If you have a mental health issue, having an eHealth record can make getting the right treatment and ongoing physical and mental health care easier, safer and better coordinated.
- Easier – you will not have to repeat or remember the healthcare professionals you have seen or your medications.
- Safer – mental healthcare professionals can view your important healthcare information including allergies, medication, treatment you have received and who is involved in your mental health care.
- Better coordinated care –¬ other health and mental healthcare professionals will be able to know who is doing what to support your general health and your mental health recovery journey.
Who will be able to contribute to my eHealth record?If your chosen doctor, registered nurse or registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker has joined the eHealth record system, they can create a shared health summary for you and upload it to your eHealth record. This is an overview of your current health status, and can include information about your mental health that is helpful for you, your carer and other healthcare professionals.
You can enter your own personal notes, for your own private use ¬like a health diary.
With your permission, other healthcare professionals participating in the eHealth record system will also be able to upload their consultations with you and the outcome to your eHealth record.
Is it compulsory to have an eHealth record?No. It is voluntary to sign up to the eHealth record system for consumers and healthcare professionals. You can also decide to opt out of the system at any time.
How much will it cost to have an eHealth record?It is free to register and use your eHealth record.
If I have an eHealth record, will this replace my usual records?No. An eHealth record will not replace your doctor, nurse or mental health service’s written or electronic clinical records. It will bring together an online summary of your health information.
Is the information in my eHealth record safe and secure?Yes. Your eHealth record is protected by law and strong regulations. You will have a login and password to access your eHealth record, and control over which organisations can view your information.
Only the healthcare and mental health professionals you authorised will be able to view and upload information to your eHealth record. In the unlikely case of another person accessing your file, you will be able to see this in your audit log.
Can I see who has looked at or updated my eHealth record?Privacy and security is at the forefront of the eHealth record system design. The eHealth record system will keep a log of everyone who has accessed your record and you will be able to see this when you log in. There are strong penalties for people who access the system without permission, or misuse information they see.
If you have concerns about someone inappropriately accessing your eHealth record, you can contact the helpline on 1800 723 471.
Will I have control over my eHealth record?Yes. You will have more control over your information with an eHealth record than you do now. You will control what information is stored in the record, who can update and see your information, which parts of your record particular healthcare organisations can see (e.g. information from your mental health service provider) and who can add to it. You can also check that it is up to date.
You will also be able to make your own private notes in a special area in your eHealth record. You can use this like an online health diary. You could keep a record of how you are feeling on any particular day, or use it as a prompt for when you are speaking to your doctors.
How do I access my eHealth record?You will set up a login and password when you register for an eHealth record.
You can then access your eHealth record online using this login and password and see your record whenever you want to.
Who can see information about my mental health on my eHealth record?You have the option to control who can access your eHealth record. This includes setting controls so that particular documents or reports can only be viewed by certain healthcare organisations.
The purpose of eHealth records are to share important health information with those involved in your care, helping to better coordinate your health care. You may decide that you want all healthcare organisations and professionals to be able to see your general and mental health information for the purpose of providing health care to you, which is the default setting when you set up your eHealth record. If you choose to leave the controls at the default setting, and if a healthcare organisation is registered with the eHealth record system, then all doctors, nurses and other authorised staff in this organisation will be able to see your eHealth record.
What if I do not want certain healthcare professionals to see parts of my record?Some people recovering from mental illness may not want all healthcare professionals to see all their health history or information. You will have the option to choose, or limit, which healthcare organisations can see the information or particular documents on your eHealth record.
If you are going to a healthcare professional for something that you feel is unrelated to your mental health condition, you may choose not to give permission for them to view certain parts of your record, by restricting your access settings. However, it is very important that your healthcare professionals have access to all the information they need to offer you the best possible care. Therefore, limiting information should be done only after thinking about the implications of a healthcare professional not knowing all of your health history.
Can my carer see my eHealth record?Yes, if you give them permission. You can choose any trusted person, such as a carer, family member or healthcare professional, to see your eHealth record and help you manage it. They can help you enter and update information.
How can I make sure the right information about my mental health is added to my eHealth record?You can check your eHealth record online whenever you. So when you see a mental health professional, you can agree that they enter information about your consultation. This will help you track your treatment. However, if you believe there is something missing or incorrect in your eHealth record, you can ask your mental health professional to include or correct it.
What if I disagree with something that has been entered in my eHealth record or a document that I want to remove?The suggested first step is to talk to the healthcare professional that made the entry or uploaded the document. This allows you to remain in control and clarify any questions about your care.
Remember, you have the right to determine what is in your eHealth record. You can remove documents from view and you can reinstate them whenever you want. However, before you effectively remove any documents, you should consider the implications this may have for your care. Talking to a trusted healthcare professional, carer or friend before effectively removing a document is often helpful.
Will healthcare professionals I have not authorised be able to access my eHealth record in a life-threatening emergency?In an emergency, it is important for the healthcare team treating you to have as much information as possible available. The eHealth record system allows temporary access to a healthcare organisation or professional, such as a hospital emergency department, but only if a healthcare professional believes there is a serious threat to life, health or safety. It will also allow them to see who is the custodian of your advance care directive, if you have one.
If you were to have a physical or mental health emergency where your life was at risk, healthcare professionals would be able to quickly see your record, enabling them to give you the safest and best possible treatment and care. This access is valid only for a short time (up to five days) and you will be notified through your audit log.