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
Editorial

e-health: Privatising your medical history

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?
More here:
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.
David.

3 comments:

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

http://xkcd.com/1657/

So let's try something a little different. What with the move to opt-out and an election coming up and all that.

Anonymous said...

"Government bureaucracies are notorious for leaks and mishaps with personal records."

And large private sector, corporate bureaucracies are any better??? Bear in mind that many of these 'Government' Health Records are stored in software solutions and databases provided and to a degree designed/maintained by these private bureaucracies e.g. Deloitte/Accenture, Concerto, Oracle to name a few? How weak are our 'Privacy' Laws? (They are really about Disclosure, and its full of vagueness, weasel words and exclusions...)

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

If you are really serious about privacy and security there is one golden rule:

Only keep that which you must.

What's the Federal government doing? Keeping as much health data that they can on everybody, even if there is no cause whatsoever.

And the other golden rule:

Don't connect the system to the internet.

What's the Federal government doing? Connected the system to the internet and planning t allow smartphone apps to access the data as well.

Somebody from The Australian Signals Directorate should have a quiet word with the Departmental secretary, According to the law, he's the one who takes the risks.

It's not clear who will take the risk when it passes to the Australian Digital Health Agency but if I were in a senior position at that little organisation, I'd start getting worried. But then, I understand the risks, they don't.