The revelation that hundreds of thousands of health practitioners will be given open access to sensitive health data is extremely concerning.
Reports today say that electronic health records will be automatically set to “universal access” under the Turnbull Government’s opt-out scheme, meaning health practitioners will automatically have access to an individual’s full medical history – whether it is relevant to the treatment they are administering or not.
This means that a dentist or optometrist could know if someone has had an abortion, or their history of mental illness, even if a person has not disclosed it to them.
Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, said that this was a concerning development and the Government needed to explain how they would address this.
“Given the Turnbull Government’s appalling IT record, Australians have every right to be worried about their rollout of this project,” Ms King said.
“Last year, one billion lines of Medicare data with private claims information were freely available for download in a massive data breach on the Government’s watch.
“They need to tell Australians what is happening, or they risk people losing confidence in the system before it even gets off the ground.”
When Labor originally set up the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record it was an opt-in system, with users setting up access preferences and controls. Now that the system has moved to opt-out, it seems that the Turnbull Government has not set up the same automatic safeguards.
“The information in these records is too important to be another addition to the Government’s list of health bungles. Australians deserve to know how their information will be protected.”
TUESDAY, 11 APRIL 2017