I have just been alerted to this brand new article.
Govt denies records will be stored on Medicare card
Karen Dearne | June 09, 2009
A SPOKESWOMAN for federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has rejected suggestions the Government is planning to put people's health records on the Medicare card, blaming misunderstanding and confusion in media reports.
But she failed to rule out plans for a central database of medical records - a controversial issue that is bound to resurrect the spectre of bureaucratic control over sensitive personal information that led to the defeat of the Howard government's health and welfare services Access Card regime.
Rather than patient records being loaded directly onto a computer chip embedded in each card, as indicated in news stories yesterday, the spokeswoman said Medicare cards would likely contain the unique personal identity numbers that give doctors and hospitals access to individual files stored centrally.
"The theory is that the card will provide access to a central database, but the details are yet to be worked out," the spokeswoman said. "Participation in the e-health record system will be voluntary, and the healthcare identifier will be made as secure as possible, so that medical records are kept secure."
Ms Roxon's remarks to a Courier-Mail journalist that "every Australian would be allocated a unique health identifier", most likely on a chip-card, resulted in a "misleading" reference to the use of Medicare cards for this purpose, the spokeswoman said.
But Ms Roxon expanded detail on her e-health vision in further interviews on Sky News and in AAP wire service reports.
According to Sky News, Ms Roxon said there should be "no privacy concerns over plans for the new medical card, which would be designed to store a patient's records on one computer chip". People could choose what procedures or tests were recorded on it, and nominate which health professionals were able to access the data.
Much more here:
I have to say this well researched article very neatly identifies the various inconsistencies on what has been said as well as providing good background to augment reader’s understanding of the context.
I think this really confirms Ms Roxon needs to clarify just what she is planning as I said in my post.
It is crucial to recognise that once the data on any EHR (or EHR Card) is potentially incomplete or out of date - as the Minister’s comments make clear can easily be the case – the value of the card is greatly diminished from a clinical perspective.
The full article is well worth a browse.