Federal Government agrees to toughen privacy provisions in My Health Record legislation

Paul Hayes

26/07/2018 12:41:16 PM

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has heeded the RACGP’s advice.

RACGP President-elect Dr Harry Nespolon spoke with Greg Hunt earlier this week regarding his concerns with the My Health Record legislation.
RACGP President-elect Dr Harry Nespolon spoke with Greg Hunt earlier this week regarding his concerns with the My Health Record legislation.

In light of considerable concerns among healthcare professionals and the public regarding the increased rollout of My Health Record, RACGP President-elect Dr Harry Nespolon has spoken with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt about strengthening the legislation’s privacy provisions.
‘Like many members, I have been very concerned regarding the privacy provisions in the My Health Record 2012 legislation … in particular section 70, “Disclosure for law enforcement purposes”,’ Dr Nespolon said in a letter to RACGP members.
‘There are issues regarding specific aspects of the legislation, which conflict with the aims of delivering good healthcare and improving health outcomes for all Australians.
‘Confidentiality and the expectation of privacy is the cornerstone in the provision of healthcare.’
Dr Nespolon spoke directly with Minister Hunt earlier this week to raise and discuss his concerns.
‘In response to my initiative, the minister has agreed to work to satisfactorily strengthen the privacy provisions governing My Health Record in regards to the legislation, in line with government policy and practice,’ he wrote to members.
Dr Nespolon said he will provide RACGP members with an update on the outcomes of college discussions with the Government when possible.

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Daniel Byrne   26/07/2018 1:13:01 PM

Well done Harry. Closing off section 70 will help a lot.

Horst Herb   26/07/2018 1:37:02 PM

Idle words to placate the masses, zero concrete information, zero action. We should all Boykott the myHR until constitutional guarantees are given - because the legislation of the day may change in unpredictable ways. What passes as law today might not do so tomorrow.

Dr BJC   26/07/2018 2:22:02 PM

There is already a privacy act 1988, for which I strictly abide by. If my patients “medical in confidence” information is breached because I have entered such information onto “my health records” then I suspect I will have breached the privacy act 1988.
The benefit of Section 70 of the my health records act is that if there is a breach then I can argue that my patients information was legally obtained and I’m not at fault legally.
Morally and ethically I cannot agree to enter any of my patients information onto “my health record”
It’s an absolute breach of trust in the doctor patient relationship and I’m advising all of my patients to opt out

Julie Copeman   26/07/2018 3:40:20 PM

Why would you sign onto a patently insecure system? Should be an opt in not opt out and we shouldn't have been placed in a conflict of interest position with the system linkage to PIP by our representatives.

Colin Binns   26/07/2018 6:27:24 PM

Dear Dr Nespolon
Most of the GPs in the 12 person practice where I work have already opted out.
I can see the obvious value in this record but the College should insist on the following conditions:
Access banned except in the presence of the record owner. (Some form of biometric identification
Data could be added by health providers, but not viewed or accessed without the record owner being present. Absolutely no access by AHPRA, government departments, police etc.

As an epidemiologist I can see the great value of a having the database (like the Scandinavians have), with only de-identified data sets available for research.
Best wishes

DK   26/07/2018 7:14:22 PM

Great, now all they have to do is make it opt-in, instead of opt-out, or at least make it practical for people to opt out (I've tried three times online and waited 22 minutes on the phone and still haven't managed to opt-out).

Dr Peter J Strickland. FRACGP   27/07/2018 5:46:04 PM

The big problems with the E-Health records apart from hacking, and all and sundry being able to get a court order for access, is the enormous ability for patient records to be confused between similar patients or doctor error. Just one example the comes to mind is where an elderly surgeon who recently got mixed up between patients he did colonoscopies in one afternoon session, and left patients in apprehension with diagnoses of adenoid adenomas, and others with removal of simple polyps (or clear studies), and simply because his recording protocol of making notes only at the end of his session, and not one by one as he did the procedures. If those records went on to an E-Health record, when and how could it be corrected for each patient? And what about patients of similar names and DOBs in a large practice being confused, or worse, records coming from a large public hospital where two Joe Bloggs are confused. ----one with an amputation of limb and diabetes, and the other a psychiatric patient who needs anti-psychotic injections, and a history of drug overdoses? Believe me ----- with human nature it will happen when someone is tired and over-worked! Just don't be part of it is my advice.

alan eggleston   31/07/2018 4:08:37 PM

I am concerned that the records could be accessed ( or will be ) without the permission of the individual such records relate to. This is a privacy issue and surely other party access should only be on an authorisation basis.