Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Medical | By

Oz government offers privacy concessions on MyHealth Record

Oz government offers privacy concessions on MyHealth Record

Mr Hunt also announced there would be changes to the deletion of records and also extended the opt-out period after meeting with doctors from the Australian Medical Association and College of General Practitioners on Tuesday night.

"My Health Record will provide health practitioners with significantly enhanced access to the information they need to treat their patients safely and effectively".

The government will also be looking to make the changes as soon as it can, Hunt said.

The Australian Digital Health Agency, the system operator of My Health Record, had previously said its policy was not to release patient records to police and government without a court order.

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

People have until October 15 if they want to opt out of the system, but the minister may extend that deadline by another month. "This will be enshrined in legislation".

"After the assurances we received last night, and the commitment to strengthen the legislation we can now move forward and have certainty around the protections to the privacy of those medical records, that our patients expect when they confide their information with us", AMA president Dr Tony Bartone, told ABC RN this morning.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has made the concessions in the face of growing public concern about the record.

"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.

The government will redraft part of the My Health Record legislation to make it harder for agencies and police to gain access to the contents of an electronic health record.

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

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

Health Minister Greg Hunt, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has backed down over the My Health Record controversy.

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.

"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.

Dr Bartone sought to meet Mr Hunt after doctors, patients and privacy advocates raised a raft of concerns about the My Health Record Act.

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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