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Were you aware that you now can have your medical records stored electronically?

In the middle of last year, the Australian Government commenced the roll-out of eHealth.

This is a voluntary electronic system with new functions being progressively introduced, to enable health professionals to access your records online. It is up to you as to what and how much information is accessible.

For more information : go to the eHealth website and find out how to register and participate.

We often read in the paper, or see on TV, where a family have had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off the life support system.

Conducted by the University of Technology Sydney, a recent survey of 1000 Australians aged over 55 has surprised many doctors. It found that most of us do not wish to be kept alive in a vegetative state.

We have previously written about Advance Health Directives. An Advance Care plan leaves the decision in your hands, and where previously this involved a 24 page paper document, it can now be part of the eHealth electronic system.

In Melbourne last week, the Federal Health Minister, announced that $10.8 million had been allocated to enable placing Advance Health Directives on the national eHealth system.

In Australia, an adult patient has the legal right to refuse medical treatment, and an Advance Health Directive reinforces your decision-making ability, however in Queensland section 103 of the Act gives a doctor the power to legally disregard a directive if he feels its instructions contradict good medical practice.

The Queensland Law Reform Commission wants this exemption removed.

In 2010 the commission’s report stated” It seriously undermines an adult’s right to self-determination if a health provider is protected from liability for giving the health care, despite the adult’s direction “.

Contrary to this, the AMA would like to see it introduced nationally.