AMA Submission - My Health Record - Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry

AMA advocated strongly to protect the confidentiality of information the patient discloses to their treating doctor.  It is vital that sensitive patient health data uploaded to the My Health Record does not become a ‘honey-pot’ for law enforcement agencies.  This would not only threaten the doctor-patient relationship, it would undermine community confidence in the My Health Record system.

The AMA welcomes the amendments in My Health Record (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 (the Bill).  If passed by the Parliament, it will prohibit the System Operator (the Australian Digital Health Agency) from disclosing My Health Record data to a law enforcement body without a warrant or judicial order and severely limit the circumstances in which a judicial order can be issued.  In fact, because of the amendments in this Bill,  it will be harder for law enforcement organizations to get a warrant for patient data from a My Health Record, than it would be to get a warrant to access information from the patient’s treating health practitioner.  The net effect of the Bill will restore the status quo to recognize the primary source of patient data, disclosed under the authority of a warrant, will be data stored in the clinical software of the treating medical practitioners and/or hospital.  The Bill also ensures all clinical data in a person’s My Health Record is deleted when a person opts out – another win for AMA advocacy.