Oz government offers privacy concessions on MyHealth Record

My Health Record: Greg Hunt promises to redraft legislation after public outcry

My Health Record: Greg Hunt promises to redraft legislation after public outcry

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

Two key policy changes will be introduced to overcome privacy concerns about My Health Record, the embattled online service that stores a summary of your key health information.

He says he is opting out because he is a liberal who believes you "don't trust the government".

"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.

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.

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. "This will be enshrined in legislation".

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will toughen laws around who can access the My Health Record system, as well as giving people greater control over removing the information in a bid to fend off growing privacy concerns about the online medical database.

"This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter", he said.

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an opinion that the legislation did, in fact, provide warrantless access to the records, the piece was briefly unpublished before being replaced with a version that was less confronting to the government.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 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.

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

Doctor groups also welcomed the changes.

"Changes to the legislation that remove any questions about who may be able to access the records ensure that the records will be able to be used in line with the RACGP's position statement on My Health Records", said RACGP president-elect Dr Harry Nespolon.

These changes address the principle concerns I had with MyHealth & should rebuild patient and health practitioner confidence by putting medical privacy at the fore of Australia's MyHealth system.

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis, said these measures would strengthen the privacy provisions around My Health Record to allay concerns that had arisen in the community.

In a Twitter statement, AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said he had "constructive discussions" with Mr Hunt on Tuesday night.

He also welcomed the change to allow records to be permanently deleted rather than stored.

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.

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