AMA calls for resolution of ambiguity over My Health Record privacy concerns

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone will press for a meeting with Health Minister Greg Hunt to discuss how to resolve any ambiguity over the privacy aspects of the My Health Record, promising to do “whatever it takes” including asking for the legislation to be amended if needs be.

The promise comes as opposition leader Bill Shorten calls for the expansion of the opt-out system to be paused, despite the relevant section of the legislation being exactly the same in the original PCEHR Act passed when Labor was in power in 2012 as it appears today.

Dr Bartone told the National Press Club in Canberra today that he had sought and received written assurances from Mr Hunt and Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) CEO Tim Kelsey that police and other law enforcement bodies cannot access the system or patient records without a court order or judicial oversight.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: AMA, My Health Record, Tony Bartone


0 # Rohan McKnight 2018-07-26 15:55
Happy for someone to point out to me if this is incorrect, but my understanding of existing legislation is that the My Health Record is not at all different to existing requirements regarding law enforcement.

Section 70 of the My Health Records Act act gives the system operator a 'discretion to disclose', rather than a right to view for enforcement agencies. This aligns closely with the circumstances where disclosure of personal information (including health Information) in Australian Privacy Principle 6.2(e), and with those of NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HPPs 10(1)(i) &11 (1)(j))

As a matter of policy most organisations, GPs, Specialists, hospitals, etc holding health information respond to requests by police with 'obtain a search warrant or subpoena'. By all accounts the ADHA has adopted a similar policy. This policy is supported by the provisions of the My Health Records Act, as under the Act police do not have a 'right to access' information without a warrant.
+1 # Kate McDonald 2018-07-26 16:00
Yes, you are correct and this is what ADHA and Greg Hunt have been trying to argue, but they are not doing it very well. The legislation doesn't state in explicit terms that police don't have a right to access without a warrant, and it's that lack of clarity that is causing the controversy.

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