My Health rules to tighten

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt says that after constructive discussions with health sector stakeholders, the government will strengthen privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act.

Labor’s 2012 My Health Record legislation will be strengthened to match the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.

This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent. The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.

The Agency’s policy is clear and categorical – no documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order. This will be enshrined in legislation.

The government says this change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter.

In addition, the government will also amend Labor’s 2012 legislation to ensure that if someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system.

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

Mr Hunt says he will be looking to implement and introduce these changes as soon as possible.

Pharmacy Guild National President George Tambassis says these measures will strengthen the privacy provisions around My Health Record to allay concerns that have arisen in the community.

“Privacy of health records is vital, and it is good that the minister has responded to these concerns and provided the necessary assurances,” he said.

“My Health Record will provide health practitioners with significantly enhanced access to the information they need to treat their patients safely and effectively. We will continue to work with the government and the Australian Digital Health Agency to inform pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients about My Health Record.”

Already more than 3,000 community pharmacies are registered with My Health Record – nearly 60 per cent of the Australian total, and rising.