Government concedes changes to My Health Record

Government concedes changes to My Health Record

Government concedes changes to My Health Record

The revelation comes as Health Minister Greg Hunt bowed to mounting public pressure and strengthened privacy provisions relating to accessing the record.

Hunt met with senior officials from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and College of Global Positioning System on Tuesday night, two key groups who'd raised concerns about protecting patient information, and announced the changes following the meeting.

"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", Hunt's statement said.

Mr MacAdam said the form should be on the Australian Digital Health Agency's website so it can be printed off.

'This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter, ' he said.

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.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the changes on Tuesday night after talks with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

In fact, only mere days after Singapore's government suffered a health data attack on its SingHealth system, the government's My Health Record webpage was updated nearly with a form of bait for hackers, stating that "There has never been a security breach of the My Health Record" on a system that has only been publicly accessible for weeks, and that "It is not susceptible to attacks like SingHealth", a statement that makes you wonder how many will try, if only to prove the government wrong.

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He said the Minister had agreed to consider extending the opt-out period by a month from the October 15 deadline, to allow Australians to become informed of their options.

Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, criticised the government's response, labelling My Health Record a "fiasco" and called for the rollout of MHR to be suspended.

"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 medical records, that our patients expect when they confide their information with us", AMA president Dr Tony Bartone, told ABC RN this morning.

"Even though the Australian Digital Health Agency says that would never happen, and importantly it never has happened, the legislation did not make that clear", he said.

However, in its own question and answer publication sent to doctors, the Australian Digital Health Agency, which runs the record, admits there have been nine data breaches associated with the record.

National Rural Health Alliance CEO Mark Diamond said the changes address his organisation's fears that the records could be accessed by agencies such as the Tax Office and Centrelink without a court order.

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. Wilson said Hunt's move should restore confidence in the system.

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