My Health Record legislation to match ADHA policy in government backdown

Leslie Hanson
August 2, 2018

Mr Hunt and the Australian Digital Health Agency which runs the record had maintained that even though the legislation allowed the ADHA to hand over the record without a court order it would never happen.

"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.

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

Mr Hunt said no documents had been released in more than six years under the Agency's policy and no documents would be released without a court order.

In the weeks following the news that Australians would need to opt-out of the Turnbull government's My Health Record digital health file system - a move that directly goes against one asking you to opt-in rather than the opposite way around - people from all across the political divide have been studying the terms and conditions of the government's centralised health system with more scrutiny.

Hunt issued a statement confirming new privacy protections would be added after "constructive discussions" with the Australian Medical Association and the college of general practitioners.

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

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

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.

Australia's peak medical bodies have won some concessions over the privacy of the country's MyHealth Record, and the government says it will extend the opt-out period to mid-November, but it's unlikely to end the hostile debate over the initiative.

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

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.

"Concern over law enforcement access was only a small part of the MyHealth Record privacy concerns".

Digital Rights Watch has welcomed Mr Hunt's announcement.

My Health Record is summary of Australians' key health information, giving patients and doctors easy access to the data via an online portal.

The RACGP said the proposed changes would allay patient concerns about the My Health Record. "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 the group's chairman, Tim Singleton Norton.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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