This page was last updated on 26 November 2018.
My Health Record is governed by 3 pieces of legislation; The My Health Records Act 2012, My Health Records Rule 2016 and My Health Records Regulation 2012. The Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 and the Privacy Act 1988 are also important for My Health Record.
Shortly after the start of the opt-out period in Juny 2018, the Federal Government announced they would move amendments to the My Health Record legislation. Those amendments would make it so that when someone cancels their record it would be deleted instead of archived by the government, and that any access to a person’s record by law enforcement or another government agency would require a court order.
Those amendments passed the House of Representatives, and along with a number of further amendments moved by the Government, Opposition and crossbench, were passed in the Senate on 15 November. On 26 November 2018, the amendments passed in the House and became law.
The legislation is called the 'My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018' and you can find it and its amendments here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_LEGislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6169
One of the amendments has been effectively implemented already, with the end of the opt-out period being officially extended to 31 January 2019.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has provided a summary of the changes here. The ADHA say the passed legislation will;
- Explicitly prohibit access to My Health Records by insurers and employers.
- Provide greater privacy for teenagers 14 years and over.
- Strengthen existing protections for people at risk of family and domestic violence.
- Allow Australians to permanently delete their records, and any backups, at any time.
- Clarify that only the Agency, the Department of Health and the Chief Executive of Medicare (and no other government agency) can access the My Health Record system.
- Make clear that the system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes.
- Make the principles contained in the Framework to guide secondary uses of data law, and
- Enact harsher penalties and fines for inappropriate or unauthorised use.
Where can I find more information about My Health Record?
Visit the ‘Hub’ for the My Health Record webinar series to find out more about how it all works, what you might want to consider when making your decision, and where you can find more resources to help you think it through: chf.org.au/hub-my-health-record-webinar-series.
Of particular interest might be something we wrote for Croakey in June - An important overview of the pros, cons and questions about My Health Record.
You can find all publications and media releases by CHF on digital health here: https://chf.org.au/digital-health-media-and-publications
Health Consumers Queensland have put together a great resource that covers a lot of the key information you should consider: http://www.hcq.org.au/our-work/my-health-record/
This article in The Daily Telegraph provides an overview of the key issues: dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/health/my-health-record-should-you-opt-out/news-story/
The My Health Record website is a good resource, and the help line is available 24/7 on 1800 723 471. The help line can answer many general questions, as well as assist with opting out or making changes to your record if you already have one.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) also have a number of good resources on My Health Record, particularly on privacy and how to make a complaint: https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy-law/other-legislation/my-health-records