NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord @GregHuntMP Parliament speech ” Strengthening Privacy ” Bill : and @WinnungaACCHO #MyHealthRecord has a very positive role to play in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people

This Government has listened to the recent concerns and, in order to provide additional reassurance, is moving quickly to address them through this Bill.

I appreciate the constructive consultations with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and I welcome the recently reaffirmed support from all state and territory governments for this important health reform, for the opt-out process and for the strengthened privacy provisions at the recent COAG Health Council meeting.

The Bill will remove the ability of the System Operator – that is, the Australian Digital Health Agency – to disclose health information to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies without a court order or the consumer’s express consent. This is consistent with the System Operator’s current policy position, which has remained unchanged and has resulted in no My Health Records being disclosed in such circumstances.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt

SECOND READING SPEECH MY HEALTH RECORDS AMENDMENT (STRENGTHENING
PRIVACY) BILL 2018 see part 1 Below 

We’ve been providing training and awareness sessions to health professionals to embed My Health Record use across health care providers, including Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services. We’ve also been out and about in the community actively engaging with consumers to increase their awareness of My Health Record.”

Mr Kelsey said the Australian Digital Health Agency has engaged with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) about how to communicate with health care providers and consumers, and has established partnerships with NACCHO and each of its State and Territory Affiliates.

For all Aboriginal people this is a great initiative. I will be encouraging our clients to stay with My Health Record,

We have 790 transient clients so if, for example, a client from the Northern Territory visits us, it is not easy to get hold of their doctor. Having a My Health Record means our GP can access their important information quickly.

What’s really exciting now is that more and more information is being uploaded into records. The more information you have, particularly medicines information, the more useful My Health Record is.

Maintaining privacy is paramount and I am glad that concerns about privacy have been addressed. So my advice now is to jump on board and support it. At the end of the day it will be worth it.”

Julie Tongs OAM, who is the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra has seen a significant rise in her clients’ use of My Health Record and is calling on more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around Australia to also consider the benefits of having one.

Material available on the My Health Record website See Part 2 Below for links 

Read Over 40 NACCHO E Health and My Health Records published over 6 years 

“It’s really, really important”. Find out how Esther manages her chronic health conditions using

Watch video

Part 1 SECOND READING SPEECH MY HEAL TH RECORDS AMENDMENT (STRENGTHENING
PRIVACY) BILL 2018

I am pleased to introduce the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018. The Australian Government takes seriously the security of health information.

This Bill will make amendments to the legislation underpinning the My Health Record system to strengthen its privacy protections.

A My Health Record puts consumers at the centre of their healthcare by enabling access to important health information, when and where it is needed, by consumers and their healthcare providers. Consumers can choose whether or not to have a My Health Record and can set their own access controls to limit access to their whole My Health Record or to particular documents in it.

The intent of the My Health Records Act has always been clear- to help improve the healthcare of all Australians.

The My Health Record system aims to address a fundamental problem with the Australian health system – consumers’ health information is fragmented because it is spread across a vast number of locations and systems.

A My Health Record does not replace the detailed medical records held by healthcare providers; rather it provides a summary of key health information such as information about allergies, medications, diagnoses and test results like blood tests.

The My Health Records system will improve health outcomes by providing important health information when and where it is needed so that the right treatment can be delivered safer and faster. It enables individual consumers to access all their own individual healthcare records privately and security for the first time.

The My Health Record system has now been operating for more than 6 years.

More than 6 million Australians have a My Health Record and more than 13,000 healthcare provider organisations are participating in the system.

Almost 7 million clinical documents, 22 million prescription documents and more than 745 million Medicare records have been uploaded.

In June 2012 the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records, or PCEHR, Act took affect and the PCEHR system began operating in July 2012. This Act contained the provisions around disclosure to third parties and the archiving of cancelled records that are being amended by this Bill.

In November 2013 the Coalition Government announced a review into the PCEHR system that subsequently recommended a move to an opt-out system.

In November 2015 the Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill came into effect. This changed the name of the system from PCEHR to My Health Record and enabled the opt-out approach. The Bill passed with unanimous support in both houses.

On 24 March 2017 the COAG Health Council agreed to a national opt-out model for long-term participation arrangements in the My Health system. This support was reaffirmed in August 2018.

In May 2017 the Government announced national implementation of opt-out as part of the 2017-18 Budget.

On 30 November 2017 I made the My Health Records (National Application) Rules 2017 to apply the opt-out model of registration to all consumers in Australia, and to specify the period in which consumers could opt-out. The opt-out period commenced on 16 July 2018 and will end on 15 November 2018.

As part of the 2017-18 Budget, this Government announced that, in order to achieve the benefits sooner, the My Health Record system would transition to an opt-out system whereby every Australian will get a My Health Record by the end of this year, unless they’ve opted out.

The opt-out period started on 16 July this year, and the Australian Digital Health Agency, together with many partner organisations, has been working closely with the healthcare sector to inform consumers about the purpose and benefits of My Health Record, the privacy settings for restricting access, and the right to opt-out.

Soon after the opt-out period concerns were raised by some groups – specifically, that My Health Record information could be disclosed for law  enforcement purposes, and that health information would continue to be retained in the system after a consumer has cancelled their My Health Record.

The system has operated for six years and no material has been released for law enforcement purposes. In any event, the policy has been that there would be no release of information without a court order. I think it ‘s important to be very clear about this – the My Health Record system has its own dedicated privacy controls which are stronger in some cases than the protections afforded by the Commonwealth Privacy Act. The operation and design of the My Health Record system was developed after consultation with consumers, privacy advocates and experts, health sector representatives, health software providers, medical indemnity insurers, and Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies. Further, the system has been operating without incident since July 2012.

Nonetheless, this Government has listened to the recent concerns and, in order to provide additional reassurance, is moving quickly to address them through this Bill. I appreciate the constructive consultations with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and I welcome the recently reaffirmed support from all state and territory governments for this important health reform, for the opt-out process and for the strengthened privacy provisions at the recent COAG Health Council meeting.

The Bill will remove the ability of the System Operator – that is, the Australian Digital Health Agency – to disclose health information to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies without a court order or the consumer’s express consent. This is consistent with the System Operator’s current policy position, which has remained unchanged and has resulted in no My Health Records being disclosed in such circumstances.

The Bill will also require the System Operator to permanently delete health information it holds for any consumer who has cancelled their My Health Record. This makes it clear that the Government will not retain any health information if a person chooses to cancel at any time. The record will be deleted forever.

In addition to these amendments I have already extended the opt-out period by a further month to end on 15 November. This will provide more time for consumers to make up their own mind about opting out of My Health Record.

Even after this period a consumer can choose not to participate at any time and cancel their My Health Record – their record will then be cancelled and permanently deleted.

These legislative changes reinforce the existing privacy controls that the system already gives each individual over their My Health Record. Once they have a My Health Record, individuals can set a range of access controls. For example, they can set up an access code so that only those organisations they elect can access their record, and they can be notified when their record is accessed. They can also elect if they don’t want their Medicare or other information included in their My Health Record.

The My Health Record system will provide significant health and economic benefits for all Australians through avoided hospital admissions, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people seeing multiple healthcare providers, and better informed treatment decisions.

The Australian Government is committed to the My Health Record system because it is changing healthcare in Australia for the better. The Australian Government is equally committed to the privacy of individual’s health information. These measures to strengthen the privacy protections demonstrate this commitment.

My Health Record system

On 15 August 2018, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The My Health Record system, with particular reference to:

  1. the expected benefits of the My Health Record system;
  2. the decision to shift from opt-in to opt-out;
  3. privacy and security, including concerns regarding:
    1. the vulnerability of the system to unauthorised access,
    2. the arrangements for third party access by law enforcement, government agencies, researchers and commercial interests, and
    3. arrangements to exclude third party access arrangements to include any other party, including health or life insurers;
  4. the Government’s administration of the My Health Record system roll-out, including:
    1. the public information campaign, and
    2. the prevalence of ‘informed consent’ amongst users;
  5. measures that are necessary to address community privacy concerns in the My Health Record system;
  6. how My Health Record compares to alternative systems of digitising health records internationally; and
  7. any other matters.

Submissions are sought by 14 September 2018. The reporting date is 8 October 2018.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

PART 2

My Health Record has a very positive role to play in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people according to leading health practitioners who work with Indigenous communities.

My Health Record is an online summary of a person’s key health information. It allows them to share and control their health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers from anywhere, at any time.

Julie Tongs OAM, who is the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra has seen a significant rise in her clients’ use of My Health Record and is calling on more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around Australia to also consider the benefits of having one.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s CEO, Tim Kelsey and Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Meredith Makeham today visited Winnunga at Narrabundah in Canberra.

Winnunga has more than 7,000 clients, many with multiple chronic conditions. It was an early adopter of My Health Record and now has more than 2,430 clients with a registered My Health Record.

According to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey 2012-13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience more chronic disease overall and they tend to develop it at younger ages. Compared to non-Indigenous people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than four times as likely to be in the advanced stages of a chronic kidney disease and more than three times as likely to have diabetes. They are also more likely to have more than one chronic condition.

“Having a My Health Record can be particularly beneficial for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have chronic health conditions, those who move around a lot and those who live in remote areas of Australia,” said Professor Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Adviser at the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“It can save lives in emergency situations, which is why people should consider having one.

“We know people struggle to remember important details about their own medical history, including what medicines they have been prescribed or when they received medical treatment – My Health Record can do this for you. By ensuring your medical history is up-to-date and shareable with your healthcare providers, it can help reduce adverse drug events and unnecessary hospital admissions.”

Capital Health Network, which is the ACT’s primary health network, has been actively supporting the expansion of My Health Record in the ACT.

“ACT PHN’s Digital Health Team has been actively training and engaging with general practice, community pharmacy, allied health and medical specialists,” said Chief Executive of Capital Health Network, Adj. Prof Gaylene Coulton.

“We’ve been providing training and awareness sessions to health professionals to embed My Health Record use across health care providers, including Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services. We’ve also been out and about in the community actively engaging with consumers to increase their awareness of My Health Record.”

Mr Kelsey said the Australian Digital Health Agency has engaged with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) about how to communicate with health care providers and consumers, and has established partnerships with NACCHO and each of its State and Territory Affiliates.

“My Health record will help to close the gap by being available for people across health providers, when they travel, go into hospital or see a specialist,” said Mr Kelsey.

All 146 NACCHO member organisations that provide clinical services have received at least one education session on My Health Record. The Agency has also invited collaboration from the Indigenous Allied Health Association (IAHA), the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA), and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA).

More information on My Health Record can be found at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au. People who do not want a My Health Record can opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance. Additional support is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non‐English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy, and those living in rural and remote regions.

Material available on the My Health Record website also includes:

ENDS

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