In May 2015, the Commonwealth Department of Health published a
legislation discussion paper – "Electronic Health
Records and Healthcare Identifiers".
The Australian Government is proposing changes to the Personally
Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), now
renamed "My Health Record" to increase the number of
individuals and healthcare providers participating in the PCEHR
system, increase the clinical utility and usability of the PCEHR
system to support meaningful use by healthcare providers, and
improve the overall operation of the PCEHR system and Healthcare
Identifiers (HI) Service, and eHealth more
The primary change being considered is the move to change to an
"opt-out" basis. From 2016, trials of different
participation arrangements for individuals will be undertaken. An
opt-out model of participation will be included as part of these
trials. If the opt-out model is adopted, every Australian entitled
to Medicare will have an electronic health record unless they opt
The system will still offer the same level of personal control
over the information in the PCEHR and will continue to give
information the same level of privacy and security protection.
Proposed changes to eHealth governance arrangements aim to
streamline the existing mechanisms across eHealth development and
implementation, and improve key stakeholder involvement with the
establishment of the Australian Commission for eHealth.
Other proposed changes would:
clarify the data breach notification requirements to remove
ambiguities of what constitutes a data breach and when parties need
to provide notification;
clarify how healthcare providers and other entities can handle
healthcare identifiers and other information, ensuring information
can be obtained and used as is required to support safe and
effective information sharing and recording; and
provide alignment with Government measures to standardise
regulatory powers and better reflect the rights of people with
The Government is also considering whether changes to the
PCEHR's system's penalty framework are necessary.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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