My Health Record ‘threat to public trust’

2 minute read

The MrHR system falls short of its statutory objectives, experts argue


The Australian government is endangering trust in the My Health Record system by failing to reveal its full list of objectives and not obtaining patients’ consent.

This is the conclusion of Professor Danuta Mendelson, Deakin University’s Chair of Law (research) and law lecturer Gabrielle Wolf, writing in the Journal of Law and Medicine last month.

In their analysis, the MyHR set-up falls short of its statutory objectives such as overcoming the fragmentation of healthcare, and yet the intentions of successive governments in advancing eHealth records have gone far beyond the reasons set out in the statutes.

The system permits “wide dissemination of information that historically has been confined to the therapeutic relationship between patient and health practitioner” that could be used for population surveillance and valuable data mining, the authors say.

Under existing provisions, MyHR information may be supplied to courts and tribunals, for law enforcement, and “for purposes relating to the provision of indemnity cover for a health provider” – such as a medical check on behalf on an insurance company.

Additionally, patients may not be aware that the system operator can override a patient’s advanced access controls, and probably don’t know about the many entities, including the Attorney-General’s department, that can have access.

Ironically, the authors note that healthcare providers have been advised not to rely on MyHR information in a medical emergency because they won’t know if a patient has used the controls to remove information unless the provider generated the record.

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