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Legislation to Strengthen My Health Record Privacy

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By 2019, a My Health Record (MHR) will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one. My Health Record is an online summary of a person’s key health information.  Last week, the Australian Senate passes legislation to strengthen My Health Record privacy – My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 .  Following the Senate’s approval, the bill will need to go back to the House of Representatives, which sits again on 26 November 2018. If passed by the House of Representatives in its current form, it will then be assented and become law.

These changes are in response to the Australian community’s calls for even greater privacy and security protections for people using My Health Record.  Summary of these changes include:

  • Access by insurers and employers: The Australian Digital Health Agency will not approve the release of an individual’s personal or health information to a third party except where it is related to the provision of healthcare or is otherwise authorised or required by law.
  • Permanent deletion of a cancelled My Health Record: Under these changes, if you choose to cancel a My Health Record, it will be permanently deleted from the system.
  • Increased penalties for misuse of information
  • Access to a My Heath Record by government agencies
  • Use of My Health Record data for research purposes
  • No commercial use of My Health Record data: The legislation makes clear that the My Health Record system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes. Only a government organisation will be able to manage the My Health Record system.

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