Exploring adolescent and clinician perspectives on Australia's national digital health record, My Health Record

Aust J Prim Health. 2021 Mar:27:102-108. doi: 10.1071/PY20169.


Adolescence is often a time when risk-taking behaviours emerge and attendance at primary health care is low. School-based health services can serve to improve access to health care. Clinicians play a key role in improving adolescents' health literacy and capacity to make informed care decisions. Australia's national digital health record, My Health Record (MHR), has posed significant challenges for both clinicians and adolescents in understanding impacts on patient privacy. Guidance is required on how best to communicate about MHR to adolescents. This exploratory qualitative study aims to examine adolescents' understanding of MHR, clinicians' knowledge of MHR and their use of MHR with adolescents. Focus groups with students, school health and well-being staff and semistructured interviews with GPs and nurses were undertaken in one regional and one urban secondary school-based health service in Victoria. Transcripts from audio recorded sessions were examined using thematic analysis. Resulting themes include minimal understanding and use of MHR, privacy and security concerns, possible benefits of MHR and convenience. The results suggest opportunities to address gaps in understanding and to learn from adolescents' preferences for digital health literacy education. This will support primary care clinicians to provide best-practice health care for adolescents.