Digital health

Digital health is becoming increasingly important in our healthcare system. The Australian Digital Health Agency was established in 2016 by the governments of Australia to lead the development of the National Digital Health Strategy and its implementation.

Key initiatives as part of the strategy include My Health Record, electronic prescribing, telehealth and Provider Connect Australia, as well as associated programs covering cyber security, secure messaging and more.

My Health Record

My Health Record is a secure online summary of key patient health information. Healthcare providers can access the system to view and add information for the purpose of providing healthcare.

Through My Health Record, healthcare providers can access information such as shared health summaries, prescriptions, dispensing records, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports.

Patients have the ability to restrict access to some or all of the information in their My Health Record by different healthcare organisations (but not individual healthcare providers) by adding an access code to their record. If the patient has put an access code in place, there are certain urgent situations, defined in Section 64 of the My Health Records Act, where it may be permissible for treating healthcare providers to access information in a person’s record without entering the relevant access code(s) using a function known as Emergency Access. For more information visit: Emergency Access

To register and take part in the My Health Record system, organisations need to review, update, maintain, enforce and promote to their staff, policies that ensure My Health Record is used safely and responsibly. These policies need to address matters such as how authorised persons access the system, the training delivered to staff before accessing the system and the physical and information security measures used by the organisation. Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website for more information including links to sample My Health Record policy templates.

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website for more information and to access free training resources.

If your team or practice would like tailored group training, contact  

Registering for My Health Record

Healthcare provider organisations participate in the My Health Record system either as a ‘seed organisation’ or as a ‘network organisation’ that is part of a wider network. A seen organisation is a legal entity that provides or controls the delivery of healthcare services, for example a private medical specialist. An example of a network organisation could be an individual department within a metropolitan hospital.

The majority of healthcare provider organisations in Australia are independent – for example general practitioner practices or private health specialists. You can register your seed organisation via the Health Professionals Online Service, accessible via the Provider Digital Access (PRODA) portal.

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website for further information.

For registration support phone: 1300 901 001 during business hours or email

Electronic prescribing

Electronic prescribing provides a convenient way for patients to access their medicines. It can improve patient safety by reducing the risk of transcription errors.

Electronic prescriptions aren't mandatory and patients have a choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from their prescriber (but not both).

Both electronic and paper prescriptions will need to comply with the relevant Commonwealth and state and territory legislation requirements.

To generate an electronic prescription, you will need the capability built into your clinical information system. 

Electronic prescriptions are available nationally as a ‘token’ or an Active Script List.

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website for further information.


Telehealth uses the transmission of images, voice and data between two or more sites using telecommunications to provide health services, such as clinical advice, consultation, education, and training services. There are three ways telehealth can be used:  

  1. Remote patient monitoring – monitoring patient health and clinical information at a distance.
  2. Store-and-forward – transmission of images or information from one healthcare provider to another.
  3. Consultations – connection between a patient and one or more healthcare providers through an audio or video-enabled device. 

Most practices in Australia tend to now use telehealth in consultations, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website for further information.

Secure messaging

Secure messaging is a key component of digitally enabled integrated and coordinated healthcare. Secure messaging offers a safe, seamless and secure exchange of clinical information across healthcare providers and patients.

Secure messaging facilitates improved clinical and coordinated care, enhanced privacy and security and streamlined administrative processes. Anaesthetists and pain medicine physicians can benefit from digital discharge summaries and digital referrals from general practitioners and other specialists.

You can get ready now by choosing a secure messaging provider and checking frequent referees have secure messaging. Further information about secure messaging is available on the Australian Digital Health Agency website as well as the secure messaging fact sheet.

Cyber security

The Digital Health Cyber Security Centre provides a range of cyber security capabilities to support secure national digital health operations. The Centre has developed a range of resources including eLearning modules to support increased security awareness including preventing ransomware attacks, keeping healthcare systems up to date and protecting healthcare practice information.

The Australian Digital Health Agency and the Australian government’s Stay Safe Online service have produced a booklet about online security for small healthcare businesses. All healthcare providers are required by law to take reasonable steps to protect the security and privacy of individuals’ health information. The guide contains a number of useful tips, tools and resources about how to protect your business from common online threats.

Further information

Learn more about Australia’s Digital Health Strategy and digital health initiatives on the Australian Digital Health Agency website for more information. Comprehensive training and support initiatives can also be accessed through these sites. To access free eLearning resources visit 

Last updated 14:37 13.06.2023