My Health Record changes pass upper house

Once the opt-out period ends the government will begin creating records for 17 million Australians whether they want one or not

Once the opt-out period ends the government will begin creating records for 17 million Australians whether they want one or not

Under section 70 of the legislation police and government agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office will be able to get access to the information without a court order.

Labor is this morning moving in federal Parliament to extend the opt-out deadline by a year to allow privacy concerns to be addressed before the system goes live.

THE deadline is looming for those who want to opt out of the My Health Record scheme. Originally data would have been kept until 30 years after someone died, although organisations would not have been allowed to access it.

Seventeen million or so will be automatically enrolled when the deadline passes.

You can also ask them not to upload sensitive data such as information on sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, mental illness or cosmetic surgery.

A spokeswoman for the Minister previously told News Corp: "My Health Record was created to save lives and has the backing of all the major medical groups including the AMA".

Any registered health provider like your doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist, nurse, diagnostic imaging and pathology practice, and other unidentified staff will be able to see your record.

But if you don't want your dentist poking around in your data, you can ensure this doesn't happen by placing restrictions on it.

A My Health Record means all their health information will be available in one place, and can be easily accessed by doctors, specialists or hospitals.

I can confirm reports that the opt-out for the My Health record site is down.

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The privacy commissioner recommends checking regularly for unexpected or unauthorised access. The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) warns this list "may indicate diagnosed conditions or illnesses or symptoms and tests". "Which is a ideal example of why I want to opt out in the first place", Melbourne resident Ben Jessup tweeted.

"People have not been given all the information they need on which to make an informed decision".

The promised amendments would also specify that the Australian Digital Health Agency can not delegate access to patient records to other entities; that health insurers can not access records; and that employers may not use them to discriminate against workers. Tech experts from Melbourne University showed in 2016 how easy it was to re-identify Medicare data and they say it is nearly impossible to fully de-identify health data.

Yes, at the moment people's data can be taken for secondary use purposes, such as research.

You can do so by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471.

Another concern was that perpetrators of domestic violence perpetrators might be able to find the addresses of former partners, particularly if both are parents and have access to their children's health data.

"We needed to see proper penalties for misuse of data, we needed to see strengthening of provisions". There is legislation under review that would increase these penalties to five years jail and a fine of $315,000.

Under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (the Act), specifically subsection 14 (2), healthcare providers can not use a healthcare identifier for employment and insurance purposes, and as a effect can not access an individual's MHR for such purposes.

"To my knowledge, there is now no public disclosure of the precise security controls and technologies deployed for My Health Record, nor have audits been published or even their summaries", Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, tells The Daily Swig.

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