New Aussie eHealth records: perfect for families on the move

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By Mining Family Matters founder Alicia Ranford

Relocating interstate and overseas comes with the territory when you’re part of a mining, oil or gas family.  

The moving process is always hectic, and it’s even more complicated when kids come on the scene.  When Joe and I made our first move for mining 16 years ago, we were young, fit and healthy with no dependents. Once the removalists had packed everything up, the rest just worked itself out when we arrived at our next destination.

These days with two kids in tow, there’s certainly a lot more to think about – schools, friends, kids’ sport and after-school activities just to name a few. 

But more unexpectedly, I’m now keeping track of an ever-increasing pile of medical records. 

A couple of years back, Joe had a nasty motorbike accident. Our youngest also suffers from severe allergies. Combine all that with the normal medical ups and downs of a family of four, and it can get pretty repetitive when I tell any new GP our health history.  

I was pretty happy, then, when MiningFM’s fantastic 'FIFO Survivor' Aunty Sandy told me recently about the federal government’s new eHealth records.

Put simply, it’s an electronic summary of your important health information – and you get to choose which health care organisations can access it.

An initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, it aims to make our health system work better.

Until now, our health records have been stored with individual health professionals.  So for example, when I was pregnant we lived in a remote mining community without obstetric care. Throughout the pregnancy I was treated by the local GP.  But when my due date drew near, I travelled 13 hours to Adelaide to deliver under the care of my obstetrician. Each had their own set of health care records.  But under the new eHealth system, they would have access to the same electronic records.

The system is easy to set up and you have total control over which health care professional or organisation has access to your information.  It could also cut down on unnecessary (and expensive!) tests which you’ve already had done.

If you’d like to know more about eHealth records, visit www.ehealth.gov.au or call 1800 723 471.