Privacy and the PCEHRPeople seeking healthcare in Australia can now register for a personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record – www.ehealth.gov.au. We understand the importance of ensuring personal and health information is kept secure, and the eHealth record system has been designed to make sure this happens.
There are strict rules in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 and the Privacy Act 1988 that govern how information will be managed and protected for those people who choose to register for an eHealth record. A full privacy statement for the eHealth record system is available.eHealth records are also protected by:
- audit trails – for the first time patients can see who has looked at their medical record and when (not possible with paper records)
- technology and data management controls
- security measures such as encryption, secure logins and passwords.
What steps can consumers take to protect their privacy online?
The Australian Government strongly encourages consumers to take steps to stay safe online.
It is important that whatever is accessed from an eHealth record is free of viruses or other contamination that may interfere with or damage a consumer's eHealth record. Consumers should keep their login and password for the eHealth record system secret and secure. You should install reputable anti-spyware, anti-virus scanners and firewall software and avoid unsecured wi-fi networks.
The Australian Government’s website www.staysmartonline.gov.au offers a lot of useful advice and tips to consumer about IT security in the home.Privacy impact assessment
A detailed privacy impact assessment into the personally controlled electronic health record system was undertaken by Minter Ellison Lawyers and Salinger Privacy in 2011. The assessment report made 112 recommendations.
- Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) - Privacy Impact Assessment Report (PDF 1308 KB)
- Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) - Privacy Impact Assessment Report (Online version)
- 77 recommendations were accepted or supported in full
- 26 recommendations were accepted in principle or in part
- eight recommendations were not accepted
- one recommendation was subject to further consideration.
Of the eight recommendations not accepted, the department would seek views of the Senate Community Affairs Committee on six where an implementation would be feasible. For the remaining two, the department considers that implementing these recommendations would not deliver their intended objectives.
- Departmental response to Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) - Privacy Impact Assessment Report (PDF 112 KB)
- Departmental response to Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) - Privacy Impact Assessment Report (Online version)
The Tobacco Plain Packaging Information Kit provides practical information on the responsibilities and obligations of retailers and other suppliers of tobacco products under the new Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011.
eHealth.gov.au is your gateway to Australia's personally controlled electronic health record system, linking you to information about eHealth records and the system itself. Visit www.ehealth.gov.au
On 20 April 2012, the Prime Minister and Minister Butler unveiled a comprehensive package of reforms to build a better, fairer, more sustainable and more nationally consistent aged care system.