My Health Record legislation to match ADHA policy in government backdown

My Health Record legislation to match ADHA policy in government backdown

The government has changed its controversial digital health record initiative, My Health Record, following widespread backlash over the system's privacy and security.

While there are some positives to the system, the government had left in some pretty serious negatives, such as police and government agencies being able to access data from the system without a court order, a move which impacted a pretty severe concern based on data protection.

The My Health Record Act will be brought into line with the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.

That aspect of the e-health system was so contentious that when the Parliamentary Library published an opinion that the legislation did, in fact, provide warrantless access to the records, the piece was briefly unpublished before being replaced with a version that was less confronting to the government.

The opt-out period will be extend for a month until November 12.

Currently, if an individual has not opted-out by the end of the window on October 15, a record will be created which can't be deleted, only cancelled.

A survey of 471 doctors by industry magazine Australian Doctor has found eight in 10 doctors plan to opt out of the record because they do not trust it will be useful or kept up to date.

"That kind of legislative change means our most sensitive information can't be accessed by police or government agencies unless they have a court order".

However, the commissioner noted that the latest breaches don't relate to the My Health Records system.

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On the surface, the changes announced by Hunt do not address concerns that health providers are able to look up the data of any citizen they want. Wilson said Hunt's move should restore confidence in the system.

"I also welcome the additional communications to the public to assist individuals make an informed decision as to whether or not to have a My Health Record".

Queensland University of Technology law academic Alastair MacAdam discovered the same problem when he tried to get a paper form so his sons, who work long hours, and elderly relatives could opt out.

Even with a court order, Yarwood said, the delegation power and the data release regime represents a profound change to how health data is handled.

"This is excellent news, and vindication for the privacy experts, medical practitioners, concerned public and even members of the Minister's own government, who have all outlined their privacy concerns with this rollout", said Digital Rights Watch chair Tim Singleton Norton.

Dr Kerryn Phelps is a vocal critic of My Health Record.

"After constructive discussions with the AMA and RACGP, the Government will strengthen privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act, removing any doubt regarding Labor's 2012 legislation", he said in a statement.

Some people have been complaining they had to wait over two hours on the hotline to opt out of their record, the agency's website now records a 14 minute wait for complex problems.

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