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Australia ahead on personal control of health records

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 30 October, 2018

Australia ahead on personal control of health records

Amid the ongoing controversy over the privacy implications of the My Health Record initiative, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has released research claiming that Australia’s digital health record system gives consumers more control over their information than similar systems.

A study of health record systems in 50 countries worldwide found that only Australia and France allow individuals to edit or author parts of their record.

Australia is also among the minority of countries that have legislation in place that allows individuals to request corrections to their data (32%), and that allows individuals to specify which healthcare providers, carers or family members can access their data (28%).

“We know through the important national conversation that is currently occurring that Australians expect and deserve strong safeguards, choice and control when it comes to their personal information,” ADHA Chief Medical Adviser Professor Meredith Makeham said.

“This review demonstrates the My Health Record empowers consumers to personally control their information, including what’s in it and who can see it. As the agency responsible for My Health Record, we need to continue to improve the system in consultation with the Australian community and their healthcare providers.”

She said the review will help inform future digital health service development and investment, and to better understand the evidence supporting the use of personal health records as well as the gaps in this evidence base.

To date, around 6 million My Health Records have been established and 13,956 healthcare organisations have connected to the system.

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