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RACGP welcomes stronger My Health Record privacy protection for teenagers


Doug Hendrie


27/11/2018 3:38:04 PM

Increased privacy provisions for My Health Record passed by Federal Parliament last week are exactly what Australia’s GPs have been calling for.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said changes to the My Health Record legislation will enable teenage patients' confidentiality and safety.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said changes to the My Health Record legislation will enable teenage patients' confidentiality and safety.

The RACGP’s calls to improve privacy for teenagers aged 14–18 by removing default parental access to their child’s health records has now been made law.
 
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP he is very pleased the Government included the stronger privacy measures for a potentially vulnerable patient demographic.
 
The RACGP had developed its position on teenagers’ privacy based on many requests from its members, Dr Nespolon said.
 
‘The RACGP’s recommendations to the Government regarding My Health Record privacy for teenagers were made with the knowledge that not all minors experience supportive functional home environments. The new legislation will protect vulnerable young individuals,’ he said.
 
The amendments to the legislation allow permanent deletion of health records, explicitly prohibit access by insurers and employers, boost protections for people at risk of family violence, and ensure data cannot be used for commercial purposes. Harsher penalties now apply for breaches.
 
Dr Nespolon said the broader changes were precisely what the college’s members had been calling for and brought My Health Record in line with the management of records within a general practice regarding 14–18-year-olds.
 
‘The changes to the legislation will enable confident and safe use of the system into the future,’ he said.
 
‘Australian GPs have clearly demonstrated these issues are of utmost importance and must be addressed if we are to continue providing the highest quality healthcare to our patients, under the overarching and critical condition of patient confidentiality and safety.
 
‘When a patient steps into the office of one of our GPs, we want them to know that their health information is private and protected.’
 
Dr Nespolon thanked Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Government for listening to RACGP concerns over privacy.
 
The My Health Record opt-out date has now been delayed until to 31 January 2019.
 
New webinars
The RACGP will extend its popular My Health Record webinar series over the next fortnight in order to cover the extension of the opt-out period, as well as the changes to the legislation. The new webinars are not accredited for Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) points.
 
The webinars are scheduled to be held on Thursday 6 December and Thursday 13 December. More information is available on the RACGP website.



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