My Health Record to be revised for digital privacy

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

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

Growing concerns about the ability of government agencies to access the information without a warrant led Health Minister Greg Hunt to announcement changes to the legislation to increase privacy.

"For two weeks, Mr Hunt has been insisting there was no issue and that the Australian Digital Health Agency's policies were enough to safeguard patient privacy".

"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".

"The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any goal, without a court order", he said.

Mr Shorten said that while he supported digitising health records in principle, "this government is really bungling it".

Mr Hunt pledged to update provisions around cancelling a My Health Record so if a person chooses to cancel their summary it will be permanently deleted from the system, rather than being stored.

While we'd have to hope the government would wise up on its belief the system is hackproof (because that doesn't exist, and is basically a shout out to criminals to try), at least it has bowed to pressure to change its legislation, something Fairfax confirmed in a story with a statement from Health Minister Greg Hunt.

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

Mr Hunt said the government will continue to advocate to the public about the benefits of the digital health record system.

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Australians have until mid-October to decide whether they want to opt out from the Government's My Health Record database.

Trent Yarwood, an infectious diseases specialist and member of tech advocacy group FutureWise, told The Register there's no detail beyond "there will be changes".

"After the assurances we received last night and the commitment to strengthen the legislation, we can now move forward and have certainty around the protections to the privacy of those records that our patients expect".

Call it a win for the power of people, the government will rework My Health Record's legislation to prevent unauthorised access to data.

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.

However, the commissioner noted that the latest breaches don't relate to the My Health Records system. "Now there are even more reasons to embrace 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".

The problem with the AMA and RACGP conducting the discussions is that they represent doctors and aren't health privacy experts, he added.

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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