The Federal Government has moved to allay concerns about privacy protections in its My Health Record system, announcing changes to allow the deletion of records and restrict government agencies' access to patient data - in a move applauded by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi.
Senator Bernardi had expressed serious concerns about privacy issues surrounding the My Health Record roll-out.
The ABC reports, Health Minister Greg Hunt says he's happy to make "additional reassurances" to address privacy concerns including:
- Extending the opt-out period for a month until November.
- Allowing for the permanent deletion of health records after the deadline.
- Requiring police and government agencies to produce a court order to access patients' data without their consent.
People will now be able to withdraw from My Health Record after the opt-out period ends and have all information on their electronic health record deleted.
Under the original plan, some basic information about all records would have been kept for up to 130 years, even if a patient asked for it to be deleted.
The legislation will also be changed to ensure police and government agencies cannot access information against a patient's wish without a court order.
The electronic health record could include information such as prescriptions, allergies and medical summaries.
Senator Bernardi has told ABC Radio Adelaide, data privacy remains a concern in any big-data storage system.