The number of Australians with a My Health Record has grown by about 200,000 in the last 12 months, with the number of accounts reaching 22.91 million as of February this year.

Of those nearly-23 million, the age bracket with the most take up is comprised of those aged over 80, with 99% of those eligible possessing an online medical file.

Revealed in a response to questions on notice from the latest round of Senate Estimates, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) disclosed the age bracket with the second highest percentage of uptake was those aged 20-29, with 91% of Medicare-eligible individuals in this bracket possessing a My Health Record.

90% of Medicare-eligible individuals aged 70-79 have a My Health Record, and so do 88% of those aged 10-19 and 30-39, respectively. Those in other age groups with a My Health Record represent 85% to 87% of all eligible individuals in each of the brackets. 

No further information was provided, such as how often the file is accessed or used, or even if any information has been entered into it at all.

In April 2020, the ADHA said the number of people with a My Health Record was at 22.71 million. But it revealed the number of people that were actually using the electronic record was only 13.6 million.

Meanwhile, the federal government in April confirmed telehealth services put in place as a response to COVID-19 would continue for another six months. As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the government said it would be investing more than AU$114 million to extend telehealth until the end of the year. 

The extension of telehealth includes services for general practitioners, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers, and dental practitioners.

From 13 March 2020 to 21 April 2021, the government said over 56 million COVID-19 Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) telehealth services have been delivered to 13.6 million patients, with AU$2.9 billion in Medicare benefits paid. More than 83,540 providers have used telehealth services.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, one-third of Australians participated in telehealth consultation with a doctor, physiotherapist, or other medical professional in the period spanning January to June last year.

As revealed in response to questions taken on notice by the Department of Health, it disclosed that for the period spanning July 2020-March 2021, AU$1.9 billion in benefits have been paid for MBS telehealth items.

Just over AU$898 million has been spent on MBS item 91809 — health practitioners simply answering the phone call of a patient for a 20 minute or less consultation. According to the MBS schedule, a GP fee of AU$44.90 is charged for this.


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