Back on the My Health Record nonsense merry-go-round
It's never nice to kick someone on the redundancy line when they are down but the sub-editor at the Daily Telegraph who decided to come up with a headline screaming about your optometrist finding out about all of your abortions because of the My Health Record seriously needs to reevaluate their career choices.
While we had a nice little story about pathology reports finally going up to the MyHR from public hospitals in NSW, over at the Terror it was full-on nonsense mode, in which the fact that access controls are set on universal by default is somehow a 'bungle'. It's not, they've always been like that, consumers can change them whenever they like and no, it doesn't mean 600,000 people will be exposed to your haemorrhoids.
Normally sensible people, including reporter Sue Dunlevy, trotted out a load of old cobblers in this story. Former AMA president Mukesh Haikerwal is quoted as saying that “potentially your employer’s occupational therapist can look at your record.” Yes, and potentially I could captain Sweden in the legendary sport of farnarkling but it's highly bloody unlikely.
The number of errors in the yarn are too many to go into but a couple stand out. The system has not cost $2.2 billion for one thing. The claim that the “health records of every Australian will soon be on open access” is another. Your historical data is not going to be included, and nor is anything you want to keep private now. And opt out does not mean compulsory: if you don't want one, you don't have to have one.
But the main problem is the scaremongering. Raising people's fears of public disclosure of sensitive information about abortions, STDs or mental health issues is an old trick being peddled by the tinfoil hat enthusiasts who infest the weirder fringes of the privacy movement. They've said the same thing about government-run healthcare since Karl Marx was a baby and nothing has changed since.
These self-appointed guardians of the nation's privacy – and chastity, going by their prurient interest in people's reproductive health – have been touting nonsense and misinformation about the PCEHR and now the MyHR to every tech or health journalist in the country for the last couple of years, and they get a nibble now and then.
Sue Dunlevy has taken a big bite on this one but she'd be on much safer grounds doing what she does best and concentrating on the real failings of the system, like the fact that doctors hate it, no one uses it and when we do switch to opt-out, she is going to be chockers full of more ripping yarns like the one she told about records being created for dead people.
Whether you are positive or negative about, indifferent to or completely bewildered by the My Health Record, sticking to facts about it rather than fear is the safest course. But that of course would make the tinfoil hat brigade's future look bleaker than a News Corp sub-editor's job prospects.
Our poll last week asked: Is Xero worth 12 times as much as Orion Health? We thought this would be a toss-up and it was: 50 per cent said yes, 50 per cent no.