My Health Record

My Health Record is a digital health record for a patient that contains information of their health diagnoses, medication and treatment. This information will be held in a central data base which will collate medical records and will be accessible to any or all health care professionals. It will also be able to be shared broadly with gym instructors and even third-party companies like Fitbit.

The Federal Government has implemented the My Health Record e-health system despite concerns that fundamental shortcomings are yet to be addressed.  Researchers around the world are warning that none of the 165,000 available medical apps have been properly tested.

In a major new report on electronic data breaches and as seen recently in the case of breaches in the British National Health System where millions of health records were hacked, cyber criminals are illegally accessing health records to steal people’s identity.  They have also threatened to shut down busy hospitals by encrypting every patient’s electronic record so they can’t be accessed by doctors or nursing staff.

The scams have come to light after global technology and communication company Verizon released its latest Global Data Breach Report, which included Australia. This report finds healthcare is now the only industry where employees are the main culprits in these types of data breaches.  Fifteen per cent of the 42,000 data breaches recorded last year involved healthcare organisations, the report shows.

Experts have expressed fears that private medical records could be given to insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies. Whether you have a heart condition, diabetes, a rare blood disorder or are in fine health, this is all information which could be potentially turned to profit as experts fear your private medical records could soon be available to the highest bidder.

According to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, there has been a clear shift recently in online targets, essentially away from
credit cards and toward health-related data. IBM has worked with small suburban medical and dental centres in Australia, which have become a particular target for ransomware. Glen Gooding, an executive from IBM’s Security Services (ANZ), said health records were ‘an important way to extract money by taking on the persona of someone else’.

Tim Kelsey, the man who led the dumped UK digital health record system has been put in charge of Australia’s bungled $1 billion e-health record and is being paid as much as the Prime Minister to fix it. Former journalist, Kelsey, will be paid a total remuneration package worth $522,240 a year, almost the same as Malcolm Turnbull and just shy of the $548,360 paid to the Chief of the Navy and more than the Chief Scientist, the head of the Fair Work Commission and the Inspector General of Taxation, a remuneration tribunal determination reveals.

GP and member of the steering group for the national expansion of My Health Record, Dr Edwin Kruys says ‘It has been decided that the risks associated with the MyHR will not be explicitly discussed on the website.  This obviously includes the risk of cyber attacks and public confidence in the security of the data.’  His comments have been ordered to be removed from the official website and only the benefits of My Health Record will be displayed.

As part of the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government announced that the My Health Record system would transition from the original Opt-in system to Opt-out participation as there was minimal take up.  By giving little information on how to Opt-out, the Government will succeed in the majority of Australian citizens being registered on-line.

By the end of 2018, every Australian will have a My Health Record, unless they choose not to be included.  If you decide that you don’t want a My Health Record created on your behalf, you will have the opportunity to opt-out during a three-month period.  The onus falls on you to Opt-Out.  If you do not Opt-out your MHR will automatically will be created.

The Opt-out period will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018 but there has not been much helpful guidance or information given.    It’s not possible to opt out of having a My Health Record before this period starts on 16 July 2018.