Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Commentators and Journalists Weigh In On The MyHR Debate And Related Matters. Lots Of Interesting Perspectives - Week 10.

Note: I have excluded (or marked out) any commentary taking significant  funding from the Agency or the Department of Health on all this to avoid what amounts to paid propaganda. (e.g. CHF, RACGP, AMA, National Rural Health Alliance etc. where they were simply putting the ADHA line – viz. that the myHR is a wonderfully useful clinical development that will save huge numbers of lives at no risk to anyone – which is plainly untrue) (This signifies probable ADHA Propaganda)

SingHealth data breach reveals several 'inadequate' security measures

Investigation into the July 2018 incident reveals tardiness in raising the alarm, use of weak administrative passwords, and an unpatched workstation that enabled hackers to breach the system as early as August last year.
By Eileen Yu for By The Way | September 21, 2018 -- 09:48 GMT (19:48 AEST) | Topic: Security
Investigation into Singapore's most severe cybersecurity breach has uncovered several poor security practices, including the use of weak administrative passwords and unpatched workstations.
The findings were revealed on the first day of hearings led by the Committee of Inquiry (COI), a team set up to probe a July 2018 security breach that compromised personal data of 1.5 million SingHealth patients. The incident also compromised outpatient medical data of 160,000 patients that visited the healthcare provider's facilities, which included four public hospitals, nine polyclinics, and 42 clinical specialties.
The initial response to the security breach was "piecemeal" and "inadequate", said Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck, during his opening statement Friday to kickstart the six-day public hearing.

Key takeaways from Singapore healthcare data breach

No system is infallible and cybersecurity breaches are inevitable, but Singapore needs to do better in mitigating the risks and following through on its pledge to safeguard citizen data.
By Eileen Yu for By The Way | July 21, 2018 -- 09:16 GMT (19:16 AEST) | Topic: Security
This week, Singapore is reminded again that no matter how much we talk about how highly aware we are about the importance of cybersecurity and how we must put stronger focus on securing our systems, that our seemingly highly-focused highly-secured infrastructures will be breached.
It's not a question of if, but a question of when. We've heard that often enough from security experts sounding the alarm on why organisations need to prepare their networks not just to fend off attacks, but also to be able to quickly recover from a breach.
So it's not just a question of when. It's also a question of what and how we respond when our systems have been infiltrated.

The risk My Health Record presents for some children

The Government’s plan for all Australian residents (including children) to have an online Health Record presents an unacceptable risk to certain children unless some changes are made to it. It is those children who have a parent who is subject to a domestic violence Protection Order who are most at risk.
My Health Record contains privacy protections including for family and domestic violence situations. However, the system falls down with its current definition of `parental responsibility’. Please click here to find out what `parental responsibility’ means under the Family Law Act.
The ‘My Health Records Act’ that created the My Health Record system defines `parental responsibility very widely. A person who has `parental responsibility’ under this Act will have access to a child’s medical records which will include their location.

Digital identity brand confusion: do you know your GovPass from your myGovID?

By Stephen Easton • 21/09/2018
If you’ve ever found yourself quietly wondering what exactly federal officials mean when they throw around brand names like GovPass and myGovID, you’re not alone, but thankfully the Digital Transformation Agency has now provided some clarification.
After several years of discussions, deliberations, development and changes of direction, the federal government plans to begin issuing Australians with digital identity credentials through pilot programs later this year.
Most citizens won’t mind what they are called, but many of those who are interested in such things have found it somewhat difficult to follow the shifting plans and terminology over several years as multiple ministers and key executives have come and go.
The DTA’s GovPass name appeared first, and appeared to be the branding for the planned government-issued identity credentials themselves, such that citizens would register and receive their own personal GovPass.

Doubts remain about the safety of My Health Record

The Federal Government must strengthen protections in its rollout of digital health records to protect vulnerable people, including children, writes Law Council president Morry Bailes.
Morry Bailes @morrybailes
We are in a digital age, of that there is no doubt.
There is also no question that digitising health records will be beneficial in the long run for patients, medical staff and researchers. A single digital health system which connects the silos of health information will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Australia’s healthcare system.
However, there are also serious and substantial risks when it comes to protecting information which is as sensitive and private as the medical records of millions of Australians.
Revelations recently that the Australian Government’s proposed My Health Record may be used to track down children and a parent who may have fled from a violent partner or relationship are deeply concerning. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, during 2016-17 some 72,000 women, 34,000 children and 9000 men seeking homelessness services reported that family and domestic violence caused or contributed to their homelessness.


RACGP First Annual Digital Report

The RACGP has produced its first digital annual report for 2017–18, helping to demonstrate the college’s position as a leader in digital innovation.

‘This is an exciting milestone in the RACGP’s history,’ RACGP CEO Dr Zena Burgess said.

‘Creating a refreshed and modern digital annual report was an essential step forward for our organisation.’

The online Annual report 2017–18 provides members with full and transparent access to the RACGP’s achievements and highlights over the past 12 months. It features an interactive timeline of the period, and includes profiles of the RACGP’s Expert Committees and Faculties.
21 September 2018

ADHA assures its paid doctors are independent

MyHealthRecord TheHill
Posted by Julie Lambert
The Australian Digital Health Agency has 51 clinicians on its payroll, including one doctor who has received more than $1 million for his services in the past few years, a Senate inquiry has been told.
ADHA officials, including CEO Tim Kelsey, were grilled on contractual arrangements with clinicians at a hearing on Thursday, with Labor Senator Lisa Singh questioning the independence of clinicians in the agency’s employ.
“So, the ADHA is paying doctors to sell the My Health Record?”  she asked.
Mr Kelsey said it was normal practice for public bodies to compensate clinicians for their time, and their involvement was essential to ensure “user-centred design” of the MHR system.
21 September 2018

Top 5 confusing MHR senate inquiry numbers

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Last week’s MHR senate inquiry spent a lot of time trying to understand what some of the numbers meant. There were so many numbers in such confusing context  you got the feeling the ADHA apparatchiks weren’t even sure what some of them meant.
Here’s an interesting selection:

1.      900,000

The amount of people who have actively opted out since opt out started in July. According to the Australian Digital Health Agency’s (AHDA) CEO Tim Kelsey this was a lot less than the ADHA expected. We can’t find anywhere the ADHA gave that prediction of opt out. 900,000 is over 3% of the possible population that could opt out but the indicator we all understood via the opt out trials was that the figure would be more like 1.8%. Given we aren’t at the end of the period of opt out yet, we think we could probably expect opt out to get to 5%. That’s actually probably fine for the ADHA as having 95% of people left in the program has to make it doable moving forward, where something over 10% might have started getting tricky. But we aren’t sure how they now say they expected more than the current level, which looks like it will settle well over two times the amount recorded in their trials. They should probably just say, “Hey, 5%-ish, bit more than our trials indicator sure, your honorable senators, but not too bad at all in the scheme of things…”.

If privacy is increasing for My Health Record data, it should apply to all medical records

September 21, 2018 11.48am AEST
Megan Prictor  Researcher in Law, University of Melbourne
Bronwyn Hemsley  Professor of Speech Pathology, University of Technology Sydney
Mark Taylor  Associate professor, University of Melbourne
Shaun McCarthy  Director, University of Newcastle Legal Centre, University of Newcastle
In response to the public outcry against the potential for My Health Record data to be shared with police and other government agencies, Health Minister Greg Hunt recently announced moves to change the legislation.
The laws underpinning the My Health Record as well as records kept by GPs and private hospitals currently allow those records to be shared with the police, Centrelink, the Tax Office and other government departments if it’s “reasonably necessary” for a criminal investigation or to protect tax revenue.
If passed, the policy of the Digital Health Agency (which runs the My Health Record) not to release information without a court order will become law. This would mean the My Health Record has greater privacy protections than other medical records, which doesn’t make much sense.

Privacy advocates have failed to engage on My Health Record

Many of the concerns about Australia's centralised digital health records are real, but the abstract, hand-wavey arguments aren't persuading people outside the digital privacy bubble.
By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | September 20, 2018 -- 06:58 GMT (16:58 AEST) | Topic: Security
If only three percent of Australians are opting out of My Health Record, it would seem that privacy advocates have made little difference. Despite all the noise, so far the opt-out rate appears to be the same as in the UK and Austria.
Privacy advocates have, broadly speaking, failed to get their messages into the mainstream media, or their messages have failed to resonate with "ordinary Australians", or if Australians have understood those messages they've failed to be persuasive. Or, obviously, a little from each column.
The government's media budget has obviously been a factor. Their paid media spend has been increased from AU$4.8 million to AU$5.454 million.
"The increase relates to increased promotion on social media," said Tim Kelsey, chief executive officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) in evidence to a Senate committee on Monday.

Three out of five GPs report benefits from My Health Record: ADHA chief

Doug Hendrie 20/09/2018 4:01:10 PM ADHA Propaganda
Internal research by the Australian Digital Health Agency has shown 60% of GPs report one or more clinical benefits from using My Health Record, the agency’s CEO Tim Kelsey has revealed.
Speaking at the RACGP’s eHealth Forum 2018, Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) CEO Tim Kelsey said that a new survey of over 500 GPs has found most reported benefits, including avoidable medication error and reduced duplication of tests, by using the data on a patient’s My Health Record.

‘When we look backwards in 12 months, we’ll all be wondering why we had this conversation around My Health Record,’ he said.

According to Mr Kelsey, the ADHA survey found more than 80% of GPs who are using My Health Record feel the system will have positive benefits, while 13% reported they had avoided a medication prescription error. Similarly, close to 80% of pharmacists reported one or more benefits from using My Health Record.

The security controls behind My Health Record

By Justin Hendry on Sep 20, 2018 12:32PM

ADHA details defence in depth approach.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has exposed details of the multi-layered security measures deployed to protect the My Health Record from compromise.
In its submission [pdf] to a senate inquiry into the e-health record system, the agency has given the most comprehensive exploration to date of its defence in depth security approach.
It identifies components from the principle that are used for day-to-day security of the My Health Record at the perimeter, internal network, host, application and data layers.
“To protect sensitive health data stored in the My Health Record system, the agency employs multiple layers of security to protect the system from malicious attack,” the submission states.

My Health Record - Greg Barns

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 - 5:00pm to 5:30pm
This week on the show, we talked to Australian barrister and political commentator Greg Barns on the My Health Record controversy. My Health Record is a new digital data system that compiles all health records into one location, accessible by a range of practitioners, organisations and officials within Australia. Greg talked to us about his concerns around security and the potential for discrimination by not opting out of the program.
To find out more information about My Health Record and to opt out, head to myhealthrecord.gov.au or search up some of the issues online. Greg can be found online at his Twitter @BarnsGreg(link is external).
Denham Sadler
September 19, 2018

MHR: A million people opt out

Health Records
Big number: A lot people have been heading to the exits at My Health Record
Nearly one million Australians have opted out of the federal government’s My Health Record service halfway through the opt-out period, a senate inquiry has been told.
But according to the Australian Digital Health Agency, this figure is “significantly lower” than it had projected prior to the opt-out period being launched in mid-July.
The Senate inquiry into My Health Record held its second public hearing on Monday evening, and heard from representatives from the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health.

Pollies attack ‘botched’ MHR

Nearly a million Australians have now opted out of the My Health Record system, as privacy amendments are debated in Parliament

A Senate inquiry into the system was told by the Australian Digital Health Agency head Tim Kelsey on Monday night that at September 3, around 3% of eligible Australians had opted out: around 900,000 people.
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King has pointed out that this is the first update since 20,000 people opted out on the first day they were able to do so.
“With two months to go in the opt-out period, that number is likely to rise to well over one million people,” she said.

My Health Record - privacy concerns for children of separated parents

From 15 November 2018, all Australians will automatically receive an online My Health Record unless they choose to opt out before this date.
Privacy concerns
A variety of privacy concerns surrounding sensitive personal and medical information contained within My Health Records have been raised since the Government publicised the opt out period earlier this year. Amongst these concerns is the access parents can have to their children’s records.
In a family law context, these concerns include the access afforded to separated parents over their children’s records in cases where the child’s name appears on both parents’ Medicare cards.
The family law perspective
Currently, each parent may access and control their child’s My Health Record (MHR) as an “authorised representative”, and all they require by way of verification is for the child(ren) to be listed on their Medicare card. All children who have separated parents are listed on each parent’s Medicare card, so access will automatically be provided to each parent.

Senate inquiry hears 900,000 have opted out of My Health Record, “significantly” less than the ADHA expected

Lynne Minion | 19 Sep 2018
The Australian Digital Health Agency’s CEO Tim Kelsey told a Senate inquiry on Monday that about 900,000 have opted out of My Health Record since the opt out period began in July, representing 3 per cent of the population.
About 181,000 had also chosen to opt in to the medical database, according to figures to September 9. The numbers had come as a surprise, Kelsey said.
"We had anticipated significantly higher levels of opt out than we're seeing. And we certainly hadn't anticipated such high levels of opt in as we’re seeing," he told the inquiry.

My Health Record: Another step along today’s digital road

18 September 2018
There’s a revolution underway right now in the Australian healthcare landscape, which is set to change the way health practitioners operate and achieve outcomes in a range of key areas.

The area attracting the most attention is the expansion of My Health Record (MHR), a Federal Government initiative that will see every Australian have an MHR by the end of the year, unless they choose to opt out. Through MHR, practitioners are able to access patient information like shared health summaries, discharge summaries, prescription and dispense records, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports.

Dentists are currently able to participate in the MHR, as they are Healthcare Providers registered with AHPRA. If a dentist does not have clinical software that connects to the MHR, they can view the system via the National Provider Portal (NPP).

My Health Record: More than 900,000 Australians opt out

More than 900,000 Australians have opted out the My Health Record database ahead of the closure of the opt-out period, a Senate inquiry has heard.
18 Sep, 2018
By James Elton-Pym
Around 900,000 Australians have opted out of the My Health Record, deciding against having a digital health profile created in their name before the end of the opt-out period on November 15.
The Australian Digital Health Agency, which operates the digital record, revealed the numbers before a Senate inquiry on Monday evening.
Chief executive Tim Kelsey said 3 per cent of eligible people had chosen to opt out so far, working out to be around 900,000 individuals.

Beyond Dr Google: the search for health in a digital world

17 Sep 2018
Diane Nazaroff
Professor Deborah Lupton, UNSW's newest hire under the SHARP program, will explore how digital health technologies, big data and self-tracking apps are changing the way we manage our health.
Professor Deborah Lupton will conduct research relating to digital health and translational research.
Professor Deborah Lupton was a third-year sociology undergraduate at ANU when she studied two subjects that would set the direction of her academic career.
“One was Sociology of Health and the other one was Sociology of Everyday Life, and I just found them fascinating,” says the internationally renowned researcher in the sociology of health, who will start at UNSW next year.

5 fast facts on My Health Record opt-outs

Close to one million have opted out, but those numbers are lower than expected
Carmel Sparke ADHA Propaganda
18th September 2018
Almost one million Australians have chosen not to have a My Health Record since the opt-out period began in July.
The number of Australians who have opted out is almost five times the number of those who have signed up for the digital health record, a Senate committee inquiry into the digital health database has heard.
But those opt-out figures were lower than expected, Australian Digital Health Agency chief executive Tim Kelsey told the committee.
"We had anticipated significantly higher levels of opt-out than we're seeing and we certainly hadn't anticipated such high levels of opt-in," he said.

New blow to the My Health Record as public support dives

September 18, 2018 12:02pm
Subscriber only
NINE hundred thousand Australians have opted out of the My Health Record fuelling calls for the roll out to be delayed as public confidence in the policy crashes.
Under questioning at a Senate hearing government officials revealed 900,000 people have opted not to have a digital health record.
In addition they revealed a recent survey had found nearly half the population didn’t even know the government would create a record for them if they didn’t opt out.
The record has been subject to a raft of major privacy concerns and fears it could help domestic violence perpetrators track down their victims.
Privacy experts are also worried that the default setting of the record is open access and fewer than one per cent of people have set a PIN number to control which health professionals can see the information in the record.

Opening Statement to My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018

17 September 2018

Morry Bailes, President, Law Council of Australia
"The Law Council welcomes the additional privacy protections contained in the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018. This includes:
a. Removal of the ability of the My Health Record System Operator to disclose heath information in My Health Records to law enforcement agencies and government agencies without an order by a judicial officer or the healthcare recipient’s consent; and
b. A requirement for the System Operator to permanently delete health information stored in the National Repositories Service for a person if they have cancelled their registration with the My Health Record system."

Related Documents


Health record system means 'control': Hunt

2:51pm Sep 18, 2018 ADHA Propaganda
Australia's controversial online health records system is giving people "complete control" over their medical information for the first time, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.
His comments came after the managers of My Health Record, the Australian Digital Health Agency, told an inquiry that 900,000 people had opted out of the system since mid-July.
That's almost five times as many people who opted in (181,000).
Mr Hunt said that makes the opt-out rate roughly three per cent of the population, less than the 10 per cent that had been anticipated.

Legal group warns My Health Record may put vulnerable children at risk

A peak legal group is concerned domestic violence perpetrators could access the whereabouts of their children through the My Health Record system.
The Law Council of Australia has warned that the Australian Government’s My Health Record system may allow parents with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders access to their children’s medical information and address.
The body of legal professionals’ warning follows news that nearly one million people have opted out of the system ahead of the 15 November deadline.
Under the system, Australians with a Medicare card will automatically have an online medical record created for them unless they opt out.

My Health Record: big pharma can apply to access data

‘Each application would be assessed on its own merits,’ senators told
Pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to apply for data from the controversial My Health Record system, a Senate committee hearing has been told.
Caroline Edwards, the deputy secretary of the Department of Health, told the committee third-party access arrangements would allow medical and public health researchers access to de-identified data.
The Labor senator Murray Watt asked Edwards whether pharmaceutical companies could access data. Edwards said the system could not be used for commercial purposes – but pharmaceutical companies were not precluded from applying.

Changes to My Health Record System

Aust Gov
1st June 2017
Regulation Impact Statement - Department of Health
The Government announced changes to its My Health Record system as part of the 2017-18 Budget. The My Health Record system will change to an opt-out model.
As a result of these changes, every Australian will have a My Health Record unless they prefer not to. Transition to opt-out participation will bring forward benefits to patients and medical service providers many years sooner than the current opt-in arrangements.
The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) assessed the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) prepared by the Department of Health as best practice.

900,000 Australians opt out of My Health Record

Fewer people are opting out of Australia's centralised digital health record system than expected, but critics are still slamming the "poorly controlled" and rarely used access rules.
By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | September 18, 2018 -- 01:21 GMT (11:21 AEST) | Topic: Security
As of 12 September, around 900,000 Australians had opted out of My Health Record. This represents three percent of those citizens and residents who are eligible for a Medicare card or a Department of Veterans Affairs card.
The figure includes opt-outs via the website and call centre, but not those being processed by paper forms.
There was a "significant surge" in opt-outs at the start of the opt-out period, and then a "significant drop-off", echoing the pattern seen in the trials of Australia's centralised digital health record system, officials from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) told the Senate Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee on Monday night.

Privacy and security: no simple solution, warns Rachel Dixon

  • 12:00AM September 18, 2018
The tide is turning when it comes to privacy and security, with Australians gradually becoming more aware of the need to protect their personal data and the risks involved in sharing it.
Rachel Dixon, privacy and data protection deputy commissioner at the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, saysthat with public debates over My Health Record and new tech surveillance laws, the public is now more informed about these issues than ever before.
“Not that many years ago there was (a view) that privacy is dead,” she says. “That now sounds quite outdated. In some ways the conversation still does need to get more mature. But this has been a real watershed year for privacy issues making it to the mainstream.
 “That’s a very good thing.”
According to Ms Dixon, the theme of the last decade broadly had been to “hoover up as much data as possible”, and that’s now shifting to a theme of “taking the data that is necessary to fulfil the function”.


Nearly one million Australians have opted out of the My Health Record following the Government’s botched rollout – proving public trust in this important reform has been severely damaged.
Under Labor questioning in a Senate Committee, the Australian Digital Health Agency has finally admitted that 900,000 people have now opted out. This is the first update provided since 20,000 people opted out on day one.
With two months to go in the opt-out period, that number is likely to rise to well over one million people.
It’s clear now just how badly the Government’s rollout has undermined public support for a system that could deliver enormous benefits.
18/09/2018 10:32:26 AM
Law Council

Amendments to My Health Record needed so vulnerable children are not exposed to potential harm

The My Health Records of children could be accessed by parents who are subject to Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders, and the definition of 'parental responsibility' under the My Health Records Act should be amended, according to the Law Council.
The Law Council of Australia’s President, Morry Bailes, the Chair of the Privacy Law Committee, Business Law Section, Olga Ganopolsky, and the Chair of the Family Law Section, Wendy Kayler-Thomson, appeared before a Senate inquiry into the My Health Records system last night.
Mr Bailes said while he welcomed some additional privacy protections contained in the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018, concerns remained.
“The current definition of 'parental responsibility' under the Act exposes the health records of children to misuse. The legislation needs to protect the location and identity of victims of family violence from being shared with perpetrators,” Mr Bailes said.
Denham Sadler
September 17, 2018

Paul Shetler at the MHR inquiry

Health Records
My Health Record will ‘fail’ unless it revert to an opt-in model and stricter access controls are implemented, the federal government’s former digital czar has told a senate inquiry.
Appearing before the senate inquiry into My Health Record, former Digital Transformation Office CEO Paul Shetler said current access controls for the service are “shocking”, making sensitive medical data vulnerable.
The Labor-led inquiry was launched last month following the controversial launch of the opt-out period in July. It is investigating the My Health Record as a whole, including its legislative framework and privacy and security concerns.
There had been ongoing concerns over the service’s data security, privacy and the potential for law enforcement to access the sensitive medical information without a warrant.

Improving data quality can lead to better health outcomes: RACGP expert

Doug Hendrie 17/09/2018 2:15:19 PM

Speaking ahead of this week’s RACGP eHealth Forum 2018, Dr Rob Hosking has called for a greater focus on improving the quality of patient data in general practice.
How can GPs improve the quality of their data?
Dr Rob Hosking, incoming Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth and Practice Systems (REC– eHPS), said a widespread issue with poor-quality data is often a result of busy GPs inputting text into the incorrect fields in practice software.

‘Anecdotally, the problem of low-quality data is fairly high. It’s mainly a misunderstanding amongst GPs that it might be useful to enter it in the right place at the time of seeing the patient,’ he told newsGP.

‘People are busy, so they just do what they have to do with the patient in front of them. They don’t think that what they record will be potentially useful in future.’

Health record data leak inevitable: Labor

Labor says it is ”foolish” for the government to think data leaks won't occur in its e-health record system and the government needs to be ready when it does.
Rebecca Gredley
Australian Associated Press September 17, 20188:57pm
Labor has warned Australians' health records will inevitably leak through a controversial online system, urging the government to go further in protecting data.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said her party would not oppose legislation to strengthen the e-health records system from passing the lower house.
But she flagged a Senate debate once an inquiry into the system had been completed.
"It is foolish of any government to say this data won't leak at some point. What are the protections for people when that actually occurs?" Ms King told parliament on Monday.

Complacent consumers no more: ‘privacy is as relevant as brushing your teeth’

  • By Noah Abelson-Gertler
  • 3:29PM September 14, 2018
Stories of data breaches, privacy intrusion and breaches of integrity are clearly here to stay.
In the last few months alone, we’ve read about HealthEngine’s questionable use of Australian customer’s data, Ticketmaster’s global data breach that impacted users locally, and now the Australian government is after greater access to people’s personal communications and data via its new proposed legislation.
And if we consider these examples against the backdrop of privacy breaches or data misuses that have occurred over the years by household names like Uber, Airbnb and Facebook, it’s obvious these incidents are not going away.
These are by no means small names being thrown into the spotlight, which moves me to ask the question, are all of these news headlines actually moving consumers to care more about their online privacy? I have a strong hunch that as a whole, Australian consumers are still not feeling stirred to take complete ownership of their private data, because to care is in the too hard basket or to care is simply less convenient.
Comments welcome!

It Seems The myHR Inquiry Is Harder Than The Pollies Thought!

Just spotted this:

"Submissions were sought by 14 September 2018. The reporting date is 8 October 2018. On 19 September 2018, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 12 October 2018."

Here is the link:


looking at the calendar this gives them an extra working week when the Senate is not sitting - it comes back 15 Oct, 2018.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24th September, 2018.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so. Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

General Comment

All the action this week has been with the Senate myHR Inquiry which had a surprise third public hearing especially for the ADHA and Health Department on Thursday. It seems Senator Lisa Singh is not all that impressed by the ADHA and its CEO. There were many pretty pointed questions to say the least….

My Health Record System Gets Added Privacy Protections

The My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 (the Bill) will amend the My Health Records Act 2012 (MHR Act) to strengthen the privacy framework.
The Bill will specifically:
  • remove the ability of the My Health Record System Operator to disclose health information in My Health Records to law enforcement agencies and government agencies without an order by a judicial officer or the healthcare recipient’s consent; and
  • require the System Operator to permanently delete health information stored in the National Repositories Service for a person if they have cancelled their registration with the My Health Record system – that is, they have cancelled their My Health Record.
These amendments are the result of concerns expressed by some healthcare and privacy advocates that the MHR Act permitted the release of information to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies.

Almost a million opt out of My Health Record

By Jenny Noyes
17 September 2018 — 9:22pm
Almost a million Australians have so far opted out of the controversial My Health Record, the Senate Committee looking into the system has heard.
As of September 12, roughly 900,000 people had opted out of the system, according to Australian Digital Health Agency chief executive Tim Kelsey.
That figure represents about 3 per cent of those eligible for My Health Record, Mr Kelsey said.
That's out of a total of about 28 million, which includes "anyone who is eligible for a Medicare number, which would include non-residents with a variety of visa specifications et cetera, and others," he said.

My Health Record: 900,000 Australians have opted out of database, Senate inquiry told

By technology reporter Ariel Bogle
18 September, 2018
The number of Australians who have opted out of My Health Record since July 16 has been revealed.
Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) head Tim Kelsey told a Senate inquiry into the medical database system on Monday evening that as of September 12, the opt-out rate was about 3 per cent — roughly 900,000 people.
He warned the estimate was not comprehensive and reflected only opt outs via the website or call centre, as paper forms had not yet been reconciled.

Senate to debate e-health records security

Concerns over the government's electronic health records system will be debated in the Senate after draft laws to protect patient data passed the lower house.
19 September 2018. 1:30pm
Privacy concerns over the government's electronic health records system will be debated in the Senate after draft laws to protect patients passed the first hurdle of parliament.
The draft laws ensure police and government agencies need a court order to obtain patient data from the My Health Record system, which 900,000 people have opted out of since mid-July.
  • Sep 17 2018 at 3:00 PM

Can the Apple Watch Series 4 become critical for doctors?

by Matthew Bardsley
The annual Apple launch event receives fanfare from around the world, however  this year has turned out to be quite different. Yes, we got the usual bunch of new shiny iPhones – but the standout of the event for me was the health-focused features found on the Apple Watch Series 4.
Apple's chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, summed it up best when he said the Watch "becomes an intelligent guardian for your health", referring to the all-new built-in ECG (Electrocardiograph) and "fall detection" – an industry first in the consumer wearables space.

Shifting the paradigm

As we enter the digital age of wellness wearables, these new health features are set to shift the paradigm of health towards the patient, as they are newly empowered to take control of their data.

The right trousers: robotic pants could help disabled walk again

By Sarah Knapton
17 September 2018 — 8:52am
Robo-trousers that help people stand up, walk upstairs and get out and about are being designed by British scientists in a government-funded scheme to help the elderly and disabled stay mobile.
The University of Bristol is developing "smart trousers" with artificial muscles which give frail people bionic strength so they can live independently for longer.
The project has been dubbed "The Right Trousers" in reference to The Wrong Trousers, the Wallace and Gromit animation in which Wallace constructs a pair of calamitous cyber slacks.

Autism therapy marries gaming with research

  • 12:00AM September 18, 2018
Novita Healthcare boss Glenn Smith says the digital therapeutics company is exploiting a competitive opportunity to launch its flagship product in the US, in an area that is enjoying a wave of investment.
Mr Smith is confident the Australian company’s core asset, TALI Health — a drug-free tool to assist in childhood development — will be its springboard into global markets.
“Our competitive advantage is a good 18 to 24 months,” he said.
 “The digital treatment area has billions of dollars of venture money in it now. It is going to be an explosive sector.

This BP app was inaccurate - and wildly popular because of it

It seriously underestimated blood pressure and kept patients happy
Antony Scholefield
18th September 2018
It was demonstrably inaccurate, yet this medical app spent five months in the top 50 downloads of the iTunes App Store.
For 10 weeks it was more popular than the video game Angry Birds, and there are few higher accolades than that in the world of mobile apps.
Researchers hypothesised that the app’s popularity wasn’t just in spite of its flaws but because of them.
The app, called Instant Blood Pressure (IBP), was available from June 2014 to the end of July 2015.

“Hugely positive” response to smartphone app for people struggling with addictions

Monday, 17 September 2018  
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
 A one-year trial of a smartphone app to support people recovering from alcohol or drug addictions at Waikato DHB is proving successful and is likely to be extended.
The Recovery in Hand app connects service users to their clinical team, recovery community, peers and other resources 24/7.
Mental health and addictions services interim director Vicki Aitken says there is a good evidence base for digital and e-support for people with addictions and the DHB was “really keen and excited about having a mobile app that would support usual treatment”.
“For people going through alcohol and drug recovery, one of the significant issues is not feeling connected and part of wider support,” she says.

Online GP booking market heats up as HotDoc raises $5 million following HealthEngine controversy

Lynne Minion | 21 Sep 2018
In the race to be the market force in online GP appointment booking, HealthEngine’s controversies may cost it the inside running, with competitor HotDoc announcing it has raised $5 million to supercharge its momentum.
The investments will boost the booking platform’s efforts to reach the "market leadership position" within the next three years, according to HotDoc chief executive and co-founder Dr Ben Hurst.
While there had been some gains from the month-long media storm sparked by a series of HealthEngine scandals earlier this year, Hurst said, the real gains had come from HotDoc’s divergent approach to data privacy and continuity of patient care.

What it takes for a tech start-up to stay in WA

By Hamish Hastie
18 September 2018 — 3:04pm
It takes effort for tech companies to stay in WA because the draw of the east coast is so strong, the head of one of the state’s most successful tech start-ups says.
Speaking at a Bankwest and Australian Israeli Chamber of Commerce lunch on Monday about how WA can become a tech hub, Healthengine chief executive Marcus Tan took the audience back to 2006, when he founded his online health appointment booking business.
Despite recent concerns over privacy and patient reviews Healthengine is now used by more than one million Australians every month and has received more than $50 million in funding.

We're still open': HealthEngine ignores plea to change GP practice profile

'Vague' wording means some patients have jumped to the wrong conclusion
19th September 2018
A GP practice says its listing on the HealthEngine booking website is leading patients to think it has been shut down.
Karrinyup St Luke Medical Centre in Perth has pleaded with the GP booking site to remove its name, but Health Engine has refused.
Earlier this year, the company generated a slew of unwanted media headlines when it was accused of sharing the information of patients using the system with personal injury lawyers, who then targeted them with telemarketing.
In response to the media uproar, the WA medical centre decided to cancel its contract.

Why Australia needs heart health features on the local Apple Watch

By Matthew Bardsley
20 September 2018 — 11:58am
Dear Apple,
The buzz in Australia is building as we eagerly anticipate the availability of the new iPhones and Apple Watch Series 4 this Friday.
The Watch, in particular, is a game-changer for the consumer wearables space, particularly with its innovative new health features. Take the ECG (Electrocardiogram) feature; this is a functionality that is usually reserved for specialist medical devices. You took this a step further and used the ECG readings to detect for atrial fibrillation (AFib), an abnormal heartbeat that could lead to complications.
Apple's new watch is able to take an ECG to detect an irregular heartbeat and automatically make an emergency call if it detects the user falling down.

High-profile doctor Kerryn Phelps to stand as independent in battle for Wentworth

Sharri Markson, The Sunday Telegraph
September 15, 2018 8:44pm
SHE’s changed laws on gay marriage, medical indemnity and adoption — all from outside of Canberra.
Now, high-profile doctor, Kerryn Phelps wants a seat at the political table and will today announce she’s running as an independent for Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat.
The 60-year-old former Australian Medical Association president told The Sunday Telegraph she wants to become the MP for Wentworth to “represent the sensible centre”.

Big data: Political groups aim to win by homing in on small details

By Benjamin Preiss
16 September 2018 — 12:05am
Have you signed an online petition recently? Raised concerns with an MP over a neighbourhood gripe? Vented on social media about a political issue?
Then you may be firmly in the sights - and possibly even on the lists - of Victoria's political campaigners.
The race has begun to sweep up personal information about Victorians as political parties and interest groups “micro target” constituents in the battle for votes at the November election.
The major players are harnessing campaign technologies capable of building detailed voter profiles and monitoring social media as they fight for votes.

Encryption bill a recipe for disaster

  • By John Stanton
  • 12:00AM September 18, 2018
The Department of Home Affairs has just set a new speed record of sorts.
In the space of a few weeks, Peter Dutton’s bureaucrats and spooks have inspired the rise of a huge global ­coalition of cyber stakeholders, all of them shocked by and opposed to elements of the government’s new encryption bill.
The proposal to cement a breathtaking expansion of Australian security powers over telcos, internet players, IT companies, electronics manufacturers, installers, facility owners, component and software suppliers, you name it really, both here and abroad, has captured attention across the world.
The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, as it is formally known, has sparked vocal concern from tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, industry representatives of all the major telecommunications companies in Australia, the Australian IT industry, consumer rights advocates, international and local universities and even the global body that oversees the standards and protocols that govern the internet.

Our digital dilemma: does latest cybersecurity legislation go too far?

By Paul Biegler
23 September 2018 — 12:15am
What would make you more edgy: a drone hovering outside your loungeroom window or a cyber snoop hoovering up your emails and texts?
London to a brick it’s the drone, and there’s a good reason why.
Threats associated with terrorism should allow law enforcement agencies to be able to access encrypted messages, says Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton,.
In a recent study, a visible threat - in the form of an artificial predator on a computer screen - was more likely to trigger the “fight or flight” brain regions linked to fear than was a known predator that stayed out of sight.

Health service provider MedCall leaves 7GB dataset exposed

Back-up pharmacy services provider MedCall left a 7GB cache of data exposed in an unsecured Amazon S3 bucket, with medical information for employees of 181 business locations and social security numbers for nearly 3000 individuals open to public gaze.
The data cache was discovered on 24 August by security firm UpGuard and found to be publicly writable.
The owner of the bucket was identified as MedCall Healthcare Advisers using multiple attributes such as the name of the bucket, the username listed in the ACL permissions, “randy”, and the contents themselves, which include PDFs with Medcall letterhead and Medcall representatives in the recordings.

RSPs will have to tread with care as ACMA NBN rules now fully in place

The final rules devised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to improve the experience of consumers who move over to the national broadband network, and carrying penalties of up to $10 million for offenders, take effect from today.
All the rules can now be enforced by the ACMA and allow it to begin an audit to look at taking court action for injunctions and civil penalties up to the aforementioned sum.
New rules for handling complaints have been in effect since 1 July. The rule that took effect on Friday concerns the NBN Co's consumer information standard that ensures consumers are given all the necessary information to make informed choices about the NBN service and plan that is right for them.