Government concedes changes to My Health Record

My Health Record  ADHA

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the change on Tuesday night following an emergency meeting with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) over mounting privacy concerns that threaten to derail the My Health Record project.

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

Senior doctors had held talks with Mr Hunt over growing and wide-spread concerns over privacy and security of the online records, which are created to follow patients through their lives and streamline treatment.

King argues the legislation underpinning MHR, introduced by Labour, was designed for an opt in system and the government had failed to make the necessary privacy and security changes when it switched MHR to opt out.

"Concerns have been voiced in the rural and remote health sector that My Health Record information could be accessed by agencies like the Tax Office and Centrelink without a court order", Mr Diamond said.

"No documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order.

We will continue to work with the Government and the Australian Digital Health Agency to inform pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients about My Health Record", he said. "This will be enshrined in legislation", Hunt said.

"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.

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"The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any objective, without a court order", the health minister said.

Doctor groups also welcomed the changes.

The minister said that while the existing legislation was not a problem, he wanted to offer additional reassurances on privacy.

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.

"We urge government consultation with women and domestic violence organisations to address safety and risk for victims of domestic violence from My Health records", the Women's Legal Service of Queensland said on Facebook.

"When a patient steps into the office of one of our Global Positioning System, we want them to know that their health information is private and protected", wrote Dr. Harry Nespolon, president-elect of the RACGP.

The government said it will also allow individuals to permanently cancel their record.

In other changes the record will now be permanently deleted if Australians decide to cancel it instead of being kept on a government site for up to 130 years and a communications campaign explaining the roll out of the opt out record will be strengthened.

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