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Canberra (partially) backs down on My Health Record

By Robert Hudson, President, ITPA
Friday, 16 November, 2018

Canberra (partially) backs down on My Health Record

Thursday 15 November was meant to be the last day that Australians had to opt out of My Health Record, a national online database of patient health information with serious flaws. (Check our previous article for what was wrong with it.)

The flaws within My Health Record were so bad that last week it emerged that the Privacy Commissioner for the Australian Digital Health Agency (which is responsible for My Health Record) quit last month, apparently leaving the organisation out of frustration that privacy and security concerns she had raised were being ignored by senior management.

In great news for the privacy of all Australians, the deadline for opting out of My Health Record has now been extended by several months. This not only gives more people the chance to opt out of the service, but it also means that recommendations for critical improvements might now be implemented before people are forced to make a decision on their record, despite those changes not being supported by the coalition at present.

As things stand, it is still ITPA’s position that opting out of My Health Record is the best option for most people, because the system as currently designed and implemented is not, in our opinion, fit for the purpose it is being used for. Hopefully, with the additional time now granted, the issues with the system can be addressed, and ITPA may, in the future, be able to change its recommendation.

But unless the federal government starts paying more attention to the expert advice they are receiving from privacy groups and technology groups such as ITPA, our position is unlikely to change.

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