Wednesday, 25 July 2018 06:35

Authorities scramble to change licensing of My Health Record data Featured

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Australia's Digital Health Agency, the body that manages the My Health Record system, is making a bid to change the licensing of data to mobile phone apps, with an option to cancel any agreement if the app firms damage the reputation of the system.

The ABC reported that Telstra, HealthEngine, Tyde and Healthi were able to access My Health Record information such as Medicare records, test results, scans and prescriptions, for their app users to view on mobile phones.

The MHR was opened up on 16 July for Australians to opt out of having a record created. Two days later, a former head of Australia's Digital Transformation Agency, Paul Shetler, said that the MHR system could well end up as another tech wreck.

The MHR is a government service meant to hold Australians' health records. The same person who led the UK's ill-fated care.data project, Tim Kelsey, is chief executive of the MHR system.

Of care.data, Shelter said: "...the thing about it was, it failed. And it was actually stopped for very similar reasons. When it was introduced, it was introduced as an opt-out system. People there didn't particularly like it, they had concerns about the privacy of their data and ultimately it had to be stopped. And the government did stop it, it's not in production."

The ABC said the new contracts that were being sent to health companies gave Kelsey a five-day cancellation option provided he "forms the view that this agreement … may be contrary to the public interest".

An increasing number of Australians are opting out, with Liberal MP Tim Wilson having publicly announced that he was doing so.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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