Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Government to amend My Health Record legislation

My Health Record  ADHA My Health Record ADHA
Delores Daniels | 03 August, 2018, 16:28

The announcement was made after Hunt held crisis talks last night with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

"Even though the Australian Digital Health Agency says that would never happen, and importantly it never has happened, the legislation did not make that clear", he said.

As of last month, more than 5.9 million Australians have a My Health Record and 12,860 healthcare professional organisations - including general practices, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic imaging and pathology practices - are able to access them.

AMA president Dr Tony Bartone, who met with the minister last night, said the changes announced by Hunt met with the concerns of doctors.

The Australian Digital Health Agency, which operates the My Health Record system, has previously said that as a matter of policy it will not release eHealth records without a warrant - however, the legislation imposes no such requirement.

"No documents will be released without a court order", Hunt said in a statement.

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Australians were required to be part of the new system unless they opted out before 15 October.

The National Rural Health Alliance welcomes the Federal Government's commitment to strengthen the privacy provisions of My Health Record - Australia's online health summary system.

"The government will also work with medical leaders on additional communications to the public about the benefits and goal of the My Health Record, so they can make an informed choice", Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said he and medical leaders would work on additional communication with the public about the benefits of the system.

"Don't be fooled by the Minister's backdown on a couple of aspects of the #MyHealthRecord privacy concerns, there are bigger problems remaining".

Doctor groups also welcomed the changes.

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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.

"This will be enshrined in legislation, [which] will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter".

He added that the legislation would also be amended to ensure that if any Australian wished to cancel their record, they could do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system.

"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.

Today, he explained, a doctor is likely to be at least consulted if there's a demand for a patient's information; under the MyHealth Record structure, the decision to release "can fall to a bureaucrat", and the doctor won't necessarily be in the loop.

It hasn't been particularly smooth sailing for My Health Record, so far.

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News Corp has also been contacted by people frustrated they can't opt out of the My Health Record using a paper form.

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