Roll-out of “My Health Record” deserves serious consideration.

You must have absolute confidence in how your personal medical information is stored, who can access it, and for what reason.

In our Autumn 2017 journal, pg 17, we highlighted the Federal Government initiative to create a mega data base of every Australians medical and health records, and grant access of those records to health professionals. It’s called a My Health Record. Your record will also be given to third parties such as medical researchers. Do you need to give permission? HELL NO. In fact it just happens automatically without you being asked. It works better that way because the Government already knows that if they did ask, you’d more than likely say NO.

So questions that pop up might be: Is this beneficial to me? Can I have confidence in a medico I’ve never met before or engaged by a prospective employer for a pre-employment check use my information in an unbiased manner? What happens if the system is attacked by malware? What happens when I put in a WorkCover claim, does the agent really need to know everything about my medical history? How about an insurance claim, is my entire medical history relevant to my broken leg?

The roll out of the $2.2 Billion system (and growing) means that access to an individuals’ My Health Record  is much broader than was originally intended.

The theory behind the My Health Record  system is that it allows an individual’s doctor, hospital and other healthcare providers (such as physiotherapists) to view the individual’s health information, and make more informed treatment decisions.

Workers must need to have confidence in the privacy of their personal health information.  Electronic health records should be treated the same as a patient’s paper health record. No one should be able to share that record in a workplace who happens to be a physiotherapist, re-hab provider, therapist or a nurse.

"This year we received six data breach notifications from the My Health Record  System Operator,” the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s annual report says.

“These notifications related to unauthorised My Health Record  access by a third party.”

The annual report also confirmed 29 breach notifications had been received from the Chief Executive of Medicare, including reports of “intertwined” records.

“Nine of these notifications involved separate breaches related to intertwined Medicare records of individuals with similar demographic information. This resulted in Medicare providing data to the incorrect individual’s My Health Record.”

Further cases saw Medicare claims information loaded into the wrong My Health Record.

“Twenty notifications, involving 123 separate breaches, resulted from findings under the Medicare compliance program. In these circumstances, certain Medicare claims made in the name of a healthcare recipient but not by that healthcare recipient were uploaded to their My Health Record.”

According to the Australian Digital Health Agency, the breaches were caused by fraudulent behaviour or human error.

“In each instance the access has been limited to Medicare information related to fraudulent behaviour, or isolated human processing errors,” an Australian Digital Health Agency spokesperson said in a statement to Healthcare IT News Australia.

In April 2018 A cyber-attack on Family Planning NSW's website has exposed the personal information of up to 8000 clients, including women who have booked appointments or sought advice about abortion, contraception and other services.

The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal is another recent example of how your information is stored and used.

Should you believe this is beneficial, you don’t have to do anything, a record will automatically be generated for you. Otherwise, you will need to opt out by October 15th on the website below.

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