Australia’s aged care service organisations have joined forces with the federal government’s digital health agency to contact members and highlight the benefits of the expansion of My Health Record to an opt-out program.

Aged and Community Services, Leading Age Services Australia and Carers Australia have announced partnerships with the Australian Digital Health Agency, which administers the one-stop health information shop scheme, to get the message out to members following the launch of the My Health Record Expansion Program on Monday.

Some critics have raised privacy concerns about My Health Record, which will keep all of an individual’s health information in one place.

But ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said My Health Record was good news for older Australians as well as aged care facilities and their staff, carers, family members and health care professionals.

“My Health Record promises to be an empowering tool for older Australians,  giving them the ability to share and control their health records with all healthcare professionals, whether doctors, hospitals or others.

“Older Australians need to be supported in healthy ageing and this streamlined approach to information sharing promises to improve the flow of information from hospital to home to residential aged care and ultimately contribute to the quality of care for an individual.”

LASA CEO Sean Rooney said integrated information would benefit older Australians, particularly those in residential aged care.

“By enabling information sharing between the various parts of the Australian health system, including aged care, digital health has the potential to enable programs and initiatives that integrate care, wrapping it around the needs of patients,” he  said.

Carers Australia CEO Ara Cresswell said carers also would benefit from My Health Record.

“It can lessen the stress of having to remember details of the diagnoses and treatments of others, and help prevent adverse medication events,” she said.

“The ability to upload patient’s end-of-life preferences can also lessen the distress of those forced into making very difficult decisions on behalf of a family member not able to communicate their own wishes.”

ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said My Health Record provided significant and compelling benefits.

“Having a My Health Record means that your important health information such as allergies, current conditions and treatments, medicine details, and pathology and diagnostic imaging reports can be digitally stored in one place,” he said.

People who don’t want to have a My Health Record have until 15 October to opt out. The federal government aims to have a digitised record for all other Australians by the end of this year.

More than 5.9 million Australians already have a My Health Record and 12,860 healthcare professionals and organisations are connected including GPs, hospitals, pharmacies and diagnostic imaging and pathology practices, according the ADHA.

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