Thursday, March 17, 2016
What Fun! Even The Communist Party Of Australia Does Not Like The Look Of The mHR!
This appeared last week:
Issue #1722 March 9, 2016
When the Labor government introduced e-health in 2012, it was sold as a personal record of medical conditions, medications and medical history of individuals stored in a centralised data base. The government went to great lengths to reassure the public that the patient would have full control over what information was included and who had access to it.
The Australian Medical Association criticised the intention to allow patients to decide who would access their records and what was included, saying that medical practitioners would be unlikely to rely on the information contained in the records. The organisation considered that records with hidden information would be more dangerous than no records at all.
Patients, privacy groups and other organisations were suspicious whether the storage and sharing of personal data would be secure and where and how it would be used at a later date. Would, for example, private health insurance funds have access. Government bureaucracies are notorious for leaks and mishaps with personal records.
At the time e-health was being debated, the Guardian warned: “It could be highly beneficial for a patient’s medications and medical history to be accessible by doctors and other practitioners. Unfortunately, there are also a number of dangers associated with the scheme being introduced.
“Firstly, how voluntary is voluntary and for how long will it be voluntary?” (Guardian, “Warning: National ID card”, #1457, 02-06-2010) It appears it will not be long. Less than 10 percent of the population and very few medical practitioners opted in. Towards the end of 2015, the Minister quietly presented legislation to rebadge e-health as MyHealth and to change the system from opt-in to opt-out: last week, an opt-out trial was launched involving one million people from Western Sydney and northern Queensland. The legislation rules out access to the data by insurance companies and employers, but for how long before that is changed?
The editorial really ‘bells the cat’ on at least part of the undisclosed intent of the mHR to be used for purposes other than to assist patient care.
I wonder how many will actually read and take notice of this reasonably clear exposition of what are important issues. Many I hope - despite the source.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Thursday, March 17, 2016