My Health Record to strengthen privacy protections after patient concerns

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Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the change on Tuesday night following an emergency meeting with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) over mounting privacy concerns that threaten to derail the My Health Record project.

Two key policy changes will be introduced to overcome privacy concerns about My Health Record, the embattled online service that stores a summary of your key health information.

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, he said.

'This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent, ' Mr Hunt said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Mr Hunt said no documents have been released in more than six years under the Agency's policy and no documents will be released without a court order.

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People will now have the option to have their digital health record permanently deleted, even if they fail to opt out by the October 15th deadline. "This will be enshrined in legislation".

"The government will also work with medical leaders on additional communications to the public about the benefits and objective of the My Health Record, so they can make an informed choice", Mr Hunt said.

In the weeks following the news that Australians would need to opt-out of the Turnbull government's My Health Record digital health file system - a move that directly goes against one asking you to opt-in rather than the opposite way around - people from all across the political divide have been studying the terms and conditions of the government's centralised health system with more scrutiny.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has been forced to back down over the My Health Record system.

"My Health Record always promised compelling health benefits, especially for people living in rural and remote areas".

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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".

"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.

On the surface, the changes announced by Hunt do not address concerns that health providers are able to look up the data of any citizen they want. Wilson said Hunt's move should restore confidence in the system.

"When a patient steps into the office of one of our Global Positioning System, we want them to know that their health information is private and protected", said RACGP president-elect Dr Harry Nespolon. The amendments will also allow individuals to delete their record after the opt-out window closes.

The Guild says pharmacists should be encouraging patients to actively use the My Health Record as a tool that enables them to better understand their health and empowers them to take greater personal responsibility for their own medical needs.

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