My Health privacy fears are realised: The online health records of dozens of Australians have been already been illegally accessed – including by CHILDREN
- Online My Health records have been illegally accessed with 42 cases reported
- Australian Digital Health Agency outlined privacy breaches in its annual report
- Health Minister Greg Hunt in November extended opt-out deadline to January 31
The online medical records of Australians have been illegally accessed only weeks after the My Health website crashed as thousands tried to opt out for privacy reasons.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has revealed in its annual report 42 suspected cases of unauthorised viewing of e-health records.
The revelation has been made only six weeks after the federal government extended until January 31 the deadline to opt out of the My Health regime, where doctors can access a patient’s medical records with a login and password.
The online medical records of Australians have been illegally accessed only weeks after the My Health website crashed as thousands tried to opt out for privacy reasons (stock image)
Health Minister Greg Hunt in November caved in to public pressure as the website struggled to cope with thousands of Australians trying to opt out of a system covering 17 million people.
The health agency’s annual report, released on Monday, revealed 42 possible cases of data being illegally accessed.
One case included a child wrongly being given incorrect authorised parental access.
Another two cases involved suspected Medicare fraud.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has revealed in its annual report 42 suspected cases of unauthorised viewing of e-health records (stock image)
The chief executive of Medicare also identified 17 cases involving the Department of Human Services accessing e-health records to cross-check Medicare records.
Another 22 breaches involved unauthorised Medicare claims appearing in My Health records.
All up, 42 data breaches were reported to the Australian Information Commissioner.
More than 17 million Australians now have all their private medical records uploaded online as part of the My Health revolution.
Earlier this year, domestic violence groups pleaded with the government to suspend the system until serious privacy issues were addressed.
Domestic violence groups pleaded with the government to suspend the My Health system until privacy issues were addressed (stock image)
They were concerned that abusive husbands and boyfriends, with knowledge of passwords, would be able to access confidential records to track down women.
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia feared a domineering man could illegally access sensitive details about a woman’s sexual history, pregnancy status, mental health, where she lived and any reports about violence.
‘The proposed My Health system presents an unacceptable safety risk for women and children experiencing violence,’ it said in a submission to a Senate inquiry.
‘We urge that the government suspend the system until these privacy concerns are addressed.’
Health Minister Greg Hunt (pictured) in November announced maximum five-year jail terms to illegally accessing My Health records
The Sydney-based crisis counselling group said a doctor could also illegally access the data on behalf of a violent husband or boyfriend.
‘The perpetrator may have access to his partner or children’s log in details,’ it said.
In November, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced maximum five-year jail terms and fines up to $315,000 for illegally accessing My Health data.
Employers and health insurers would also be banned from accessing the information.
The minister also responded to concerns raised by domestic violence support groups by restricting the information held by the Australian Digital Health Agency in circumstances where ‘there may be a risk to a person’s life, health or safety’.