Journal article

‘I’d like to think you could trust the government, but I don’t really think we can’: Australian women’s attitudes to and experiences of My Health Record

Medicine Information resources management Privacy Data protection Women's health Electronic health records Telehealth Australia
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DOI: 10.1177/2055207619847017 294.11 KB


The Australian government’s Australian Digital Health Agency is working towards its goal of enrolling every Australian in My Health Record, its national electronic health record system. This article reports findings from a qualitative project involving interviews and focus groups with Australian women about their use of digital health across the range of technologies available to them, including their attitudes to and experiences of My Health Record. A feminist new materialism perspective informed the project, working to surface the affordances, affective forces and relational connections that contributed to the opening up or closing off potential agential capacities when people come together with digitised systems such as My Health Record. These findings demonstrate that people’s personal experiences and feelings, the actions of others such as the agencies responsible for system implementation and function, their healthcare providers and broader social, cultural, technological and political factors are important in shaping their knowledge, interest in and acceptance of an electronic health record system. Even among this group of participants, who were experienced and active in finding and engaging with health information online, uncertainty and a lack of awareness of and interest in My Health Record were evident among many. Affordances such as technical difficulties were major barriers to enrolling and using the system successfully. No participants had yet found any benefit or use for it. Affective forces such as lack of trust and faith in the Australian government’s general technological expertise and concerns about data privacy and security were also key in many participants’ accounts.



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