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My Health privacy 'to be strengthened'

28 July 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today those concerns would be addressed.

The health minister has continued to maintain his argument that the policy of ADHA to require a court order to release medical data will trump the legislation that allows data to be handed over to enforcement agencies.

The shift from RACGP follows on from Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone saying on Wednesday he wanted the discrepancy between Australian Digital Health Agency policy and what is now law clarified.

The Human Rights Commissioner this week warned the maligned My Health Record system could be a "honey-pot" for criminals.

Dr Bartone, who broadly supports My Health Record but is not yet enrolled himself, said it was essential to grow the system "to a point of maturity" by boosting the number of patient records uploaded.

Nespolon is concerned about the specific parts of the law which he believes "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", he says.

Bartone told a National Press Club event that he meant to seek a meeting with Hunt to ensure "any ambiguity is put to rest".

Concern about potential problems with privacy has been growing in recent days.

Health Minister Greg Hut has told doctors he will strengthen privacy My Health Record
Health Minister Greg Hut has told doctors he will strengthen privacy My Health Record

Mr Hunt, who will meet with Dr Bartone next week, has maintained that patient records can not be accessed without a court order, because "strict policy" governing the scheme did not allow it.

"It's not uncommon to hear of patients waiting many, many months and sometimes even years to get into an outpatients' clinic", he told the ABC on Sunday night, ahead of his keynote address.

However Dr Bartone says doctors have been assured the health data is being offered the best level of possible protection, arguing if the system was too "CIA fool-proof" then it would defeat its utility. "Fax, in this day and age", he said.

The Sydney GP does not use the My Health Record at all in his Neutral Bay medical practice.

Mr Hunt confirmed he'd spoken with both Dr Nespolon and Dr Bartone about their concerns but wouldn't pre-empt the outcome of a meeting next week.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was considering opting out of the My Health Record, a Labor creation, because of privacy concerns and poor implementation by the Turnbull Government.

The move comes amid the explosive revelation that the new boss of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says he cancelled his My Health Record this week because of privacy concerns.

"No documents have been released in the last six years and none will be released in the future without a court order/coronial or similar order", the agency said.

People can set privacy controls over who can access that information, but one of the concerns raised has been that people won't necessarily be aware of that option.

My Health privacy 'to be strengthened'