Medicine

Greg Hunt backs down over My Health Record privacy provisions

Greg Hunt backs down over My Health Record privacy provisions

The Australian Digital Health Agency admits there has been nine data breaches.

That section gives the Australian Digital Health Agency the power to delegate any of its functions to other bureaucrats - and that would include its powers to disclose information.

He says he is opting out because he is a liberal who believes you "don't trust the government".

Hunt had previously denied that access without a warrant or court order was possible, however parts of the legislation underpinning the health records said otherwise.

Currently, the system will only render a record inaccessible after an individual decides to opt-out after a record is created; all the data is still retained within the My Health Record system. "This will be enshrined in legislation", Hunt said.

While we'd have to hope the government would wise up on its belief the system is hackproof (because that doesn't exist, and is basically a shout out to criminals to try), at least it has bowed to pressure to change its legislation, something Fairfax confirmed in a story with a statement from Health Minister Greg Hunt.

"In addition, we've also impressed upon the Minister that there's a need to have some clear air, to ensure that the community has time to fully understand what is a My Health Record and what is entailed in the opt out process", Dr Bartone said.

While doctors were eager to see the scheme implemented, they were also at the forefront of those raising privacy issues.




"Privacy of health records is vital, and it is good that the Minister has responded to these concerns and provided the necessary assurances", Mr Tambassis said.

"His humiliating backdown over police access to health records is only a first step".

Yarwood also highlighted that even with law enforcement access dealt with, there will still be almost a million health sector workers able to access MyHealth Record.

"Changes to the legislation that remove any questions about who may be able to access the records ensure that the records will be able to be used in line with the RACGP's position statement on My Health Records", said RACGP president-elect Dr Harry Nespolon.

"This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter".

Mr Hunt pledged to update provisions around cancelling a My Health Record so if a person chooses to cancel their summary it will be permanently deleted from the system, rather than being stored.

"We can now move forward and have certainty around the protections to the privacy of those medical records that our patients expect", AMA president Tony Bartone told ABC radio on Wednesday.

The Guild says pharmacists should be encouraging patients to actively use the My Health Record as a tool that enables them to better understand their health and empowers them to take greater personal responsibility for their own medical needs. The amendments will also allow individuals to delete their record after the opt-out window closes.


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