My Health Record COVID vaccine bungle
It costs taxpayers $2 billion but the My Health Record is proving useless when it comes to helping people prove they have a medical condition that prioritises them for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Two million Australians who have an underlying medical condition are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 1b which began this week and many will be unable to get it at their regular GP.
Only 1000 GP's are currently approved to provide the vaccine and one in three GPs decided not to apply to deliver the vaccines at all.
This means patients will need to provide some kind of proof to an unfamiliar medical practice they have a condition that qualifies them for a priority vaccination.
The Department of Health's website says: "If you are not eligible or cannot demonstrate your eligibility when you arrive for your vaccination, you may be asked to leave."
"For individuals attending their usual GP, the clinic's records may be relied upon as evidence. Other forms of accepted evidence include: • My Health Record • Government issued documents with date of birth (e.g. Centrelink, Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs)," the site says.
Bronia Nowaine has a cardiac problem and, as advised by the Department of Health, had planned to use her My Health Record as proof of the condition so she could get a COVID-19 vaccine under the current stage 1b.
When she opened her My Health Record online to see if it would be of use she was shocked to discover it was virtually empty.
"The only thing that was on there was these two release forms from my nose and my foot operations that I had last year," Ms Nowaine said.
She contacted the Royal Brisbane Hospital that treated her cardiac event and asked them to upload her records but they told her they couldn't do that.
"They said we don't upload things to My Health Record, we can send you a consent form, which you can fill in and send back to us and we can give you your records and then you can upload them," she said.
"That's insane. I'm a patient. I don't even know what to request," she told News Corp Australia.
The Australian Digital Health Agency refused to respond to details of Ms Nowaine's case but said "the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital is connected to My Health Record and since 2016 routinely uploads discharge summaries for patients".
A spokesperson for Metro North Health on behalf of Royal Brisbane Hospital said "records uploaded to My Health Record must comply with specifications and standards of the ADHA. The ADHA has not developed specifications and standards for all document types."
News Corp revealed earlier this year doctors and hospitals are not using the record.
GPs look at the record in fewer than one per cent of consults and hospitals use it in just two per cent of cases.
Only one in eight medical specialists are registered to use the record in their private practice and only three per cent have used it.
Ms Nowaine said she was annoyed given the way the government promoted the record and would now have to find another way of proving her eligibility.
"If I was to fall down in the street and an ambulance needed my information they should be able to get it but it seems they wouldn't," she said.
Originally published as My Health Record COVID vaccine bungle