Privacy provisions for My Health Record will be strengthened so that a court order is needed for information to be released without consent.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the changes following talks with the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel welcomed the move, calling it ‘a very positive step towards the meaningful use of My Health Record’.
‘A patient’s medical record contains highly sensitive, confidential and privileged information. It needs to be protected, not just shared – and I’m pleased that Minister Greg Hunt has agreed to do so,’ Dr Seidel posted on Twitter.
Health minister Greg Hunt (pictured) announced privacy provisions for My Health Record will be strengthened so that a court order is needed for information to be released without consent
The move has been welcomed by the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
The My Health Record Act will be brought into line with the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy.
‘This policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent,’ Mr Hunt said in a statement on Tuesday night.
‘The amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.’
Mr Hunt said no documents have been released in more than six years under the Agency’s policy and no documents will be released without a court order.
‘This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter,’ he said.
‘In addition, the government will also amend Labor’s 2012 legislation to ensure if someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system.’
The My Health Record Act will be brought into line with the existing Australian Digital Health Agency policy (stock image)
The changes will be made ‘as soon as possible’.
Mr Hunt said the government will continue to advocate to the public about the benefits of the digital health record system.
In a Twitter statement, AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said he had ‘constructive discussions’ with Mr Hunt on Tuesday night.
Dr Bartone had addressed the National Press Club last week where he said he would ‘do whatever it takes to ensure that the security concerns are raised and cleared up as a matter of urgency’.
‘The AMA has always been protective and vigilant about the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and this should not be affected by the My Health Record,’ Dr Bartone said in a statement last week.