Govt moves to reinforce My Health Record privacy


Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday announced changes to improve security after consulting with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and College of General Practitioners.

"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".

The Australian government is creating a national online database known as My Health Record, capable of storing your entire medical history.

Lobby group Digital Rights Watch said the changes vindicated the concerns of privacy experts, medical practitioners, concerned citizens and some government MPs.

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

Even with a court order, Yarwood said, the delegation power and the data release regime represents a profound change to how health data is handled.

"We will continue to work with the Government and the Australian Digital Health Agency to inform pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients about My Health Record", he said. "This will be enshrined in legislation".

The Federal Government has bowed to the intense pressure surrounding the controversial My Health Record system, promising to strengthen laws to protect patient's privacy.

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"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.

"In addition, we've also impressed upon the Minister that there's a need to have some clear air, to ensure that the community has time to fully understand what is a My Health Record and what is entailed in the opt out process", Dr Bartone said.

"After constructive discussions with the AMA and RACGP, the Government will strengthen privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act, removing any doubt regarding Labor's 2012 legislation", he said in a statement.

"Privacy of health records is vital, and it is good that the Minister has responded to these concerns and provided the necessary assurances", Mr Tambassis said.

It is understood that support for a redrafting of the legislation emerged within the Liberal Party after last weekend's byelections, in which Labor bolstered its position in part by attacking the Turnbull government's record on health.

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.

"In the 2016-17 financial year, there were six data breach notifications within My Health Record, and three notifications in the previous financial year", the agency admitted. "Now there are even more reasons to embrace the system", he said.

News Corp has also been contacted by people frustrated they can't opt out of the My Health Record using a paper form.