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14 November 2018

When Sharon Knight’s son called her late one night and said he was in an ambulance, her first thought was that it was a bad practical joke.

“I told him that it wasn’t a very funny thing to say,” she says. “He told me: ‘I’m not joking, I’m on my way to hospital.’”

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Thankfully for Sharon, Isaac had just broken a wrist while skateboarding. But the incident highlights the importance of having a My Health Record.

“Because he had a My Health Record, when we went to the emergency unit, the hospital was able to see his history,” Sharon says. “They could see that only a few months earlier he had an injury that put him in a different hospital up on the Sunshine Coast.

“More importantly, they could see he’d had allergic reactions to some of the medications they’d given him. They knew what pain relief to avoid.”

Sharon is a mother of four. She’s also worked in general practice for several years, which is where she was introduced to My Health Record. Her workplace took part in pilot testing for the program five years ago to see how it would work with other software systems.

Sharon was so impressed with the system that she became an early adopter.

“As a mum, it gives me peace of mind that my children have access to their summarised health information wherever they are in the world,” she says. “If they or the clinicians looking after their health need it, the information can be accessed at any time.”

Peace of mind

Sharon’s children may be growing up, but as a mother, she still worries about them. The best thing about My Health Record is that it’s an extra tool to keep them safe. And as they get older, they’re using it with their own families.

“We’re a very mobile family,” Sharon says. “Everyone’s out and about, doing all sorts of different things. It’s helpful to have a secure way of holding important health information that clinicians across the country can access.”

Working in the healthcare industry, Sharon knows people can develop chronic conditions as they age and she’s determined to stay on top of her own health. My Health Record is useful in keeping all of that information together.

“I can manage any ongoing health conditions that may occur,” Sharon says. “And all the people who look after my health will have the information they need. If I go to the pharmacist, they can look at my record and let me know when my scripts are due. If I go to my psychotherapist, they can see what treatment I need.”

Sharon knows how tricky it can be for busy parents to stay on top the list of healthcare needs. She believes My Health Record will help.

“As a mum of four kids, you can’t remember everything that happens in your child’s medical history. You might forget immunisation dates or when they’re due for a check-up,” Sharon says.

“My kids have diverse healthcare needs. Knowing it’s all on the My Health Record system means I don’t have to worry at a time when we’re already feeling a bit stressed out, like when an emergency happens.”