Senate committee recommends passage of PCEHR opt-out bill

A Senate committee has recommended that the bill enabling opt-out trials for the PCEHR and a change of name to My Health Record be passed by the upper house.

The Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill 2015 passed the lower house with bipartisan support last month but it was recommended that the Senate conduct a brief inquiry into some of the privacy and security ramifications of the legislation.

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee received 12 submissions on the bill, including from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), along with an extensive submission from the Department of Health.

While the committee took into account factors such as privacy concerns over the opt-out model and two other inquiries currently looking at the legislation, it recommended that the bill be passed.

In its submission, the OAIC recommended that before any decision was made to apply the opt-out model nationally, an independent privacy impact assessment (PIA) should be conducted. As the Department of Health points out, one already has.

The only other recommendation is that the Department of Health consider the OAIC's views on privacy when developing the public awareness campaign for the opt-out trials, which are due to start next year.

Health Minister Sussan Ley recently announced that the trials will be held in far north Queensland and the Nepean Blue Mountains regions of NSW. Pulse+IT submitted extensive questions about the trials to the Department of Health last week but has not yet received a response.

The bill is likely to be passed by the Senate in the current sitting.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: PCEHR, My Health Record, MyHR, OAIC

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