AN Orange doctor will be among those opting out of the Federal Government’s My Health Record initiative ahead of the deadline this week.
My Health Record is an online summary of key health information such as allergies, medicines you are taking, medical conditions you have been diagnosed with, and pathology test results like blood tests.
The national database is accessible by health professionals including GPs and hospital emergency department doctors and nurses.
The scheme has been criticised by some who claim that the government has not proven that information will not be stored securely.
More than 6.4 million Australians already have a My Health Records and unless you opt out, one will be created for you after January 31.
Dr David Howe said while idea of a national database was beneficial, he did have some concerns.
“The government has not been able to prove it’s secure and that people aren’t able to hack it,” he said.
“It’s fundamentally terrific, but the way it’s structured is not.”
Dr Howe said his advice to his patients depended on the individual.
“If you’ve got a lot of health issues then stay in,” he said.
“But, if you’ve got issues that may come back at you like [through your] insurance or jobs then don’t opt in.”
Dr Howe said he planned to opt out himself before the deadline.
If you’ve got a lot of health issues then stay in.Dr David Howe
So far 1.147 million people have opted out of having a My Health Record, a statement by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) said.
“My Health Record is already helping many Australians to improve the management of their own health and care,” the statement said.
“[It] gives healthcare providers secure digital access to key health information at the point of care, wherever that may be.
“Its benefits include reduced hospital admissions, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions.”
The ADHA statement said there were strict rules and regulations about who could see and use My Health Record, to protect information from misuse.
“[It] has multi-layered and strong safeguards in place to protect people’s information including encryption, firewalls, secure login, authentication mechanisms and audit logging,” it read.
New laws to protect My Health Record
As a result of the new laws:
- Australians can permanently delete their record at any time in their life, including back-ups
- Access to My Health Records for insurance or employment purposes is now illegal.
- Law enforcement and other government agencies are now required to produce an order from a judicial officer to access information in a My Health Record
- The system cannot be privatised or commercialised.
- Protections for people at risk of family and domestic violence have been strengthened
- Privacy for teenagers 14 years and over will be strengthened.
- The System Operator (the ADHA) cannot delegate functions to an entity other than an employee of the Department of Health or the Chief Executive of Medicare.
- There are harsher penalties and fines for inappropriate or unauthorised use of My Health Records including five years in prison and fines up to $315,000.
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