UpDate: Oz Security Of Health Records
From: John W. Auchettl <Praufo@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2000 11:10:33 -0400 (EDT)
Fwd Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2000 22:52:15 -0400
Subject: UpDate: Oz Security Of Health Records
Oz & ASIA DATA RESEARCH
Phenomena Research Australia
From the Health Minister July 31st, 2000:
Victorians (Australian State) will be guaranteed that personal
privacy and confidentiality are paramount in the handling and
security of personal health information, the Health Minister,
John Thwaites said on Monday, July 31, 2000.
With the growth in the computerised transfer and storage of
personal records, people need to be assured that their privacy
is strongly catered for, Mr Thwaites said.
Public comment is being sought on the draft Health Records Bill,
which will prevent health agencies from improperly using health
The Health Records Bill will complement privacy provisions in
Victoria's Information Privacy Bill, which has been introduced
"The Bill will ensure that agencies cannot pass on personal
health information about their patients and clients for
marketing or other improper purposes to a third party," Mr
"It will also regulate the use of personal health information
held by non-health agencies, such as records on health insurance
or health and fitness club clients, or on workplace personnel
The Bill will ensure consistency in how personal health
information is handled and treated right across the sector,
including the handling of information by private and public
health services which are often being used simultaneously - such
as where a GP refers a patient to a public hospital.
Mr Thwaites said the privacy standards will be binding, and in
accordance with the Health Privacy Principles set out in the
They are designed to give individuals certainty and a high level
of control about the manner in which their health information is
collected, used, disclosed and stored.
Health information includes records on physical, mental and
psychological health. It includes health information from
disability, palliative and aged care services.
"The Bill extends beyond traditional fields of health and
medical information in order to protect a broad range of data
such as genetic, disability and aged care information that is
very sensitive and often relevant to health and medical
services," Mr Thwaites said.
"With advances in technology revolutionising the way information
is stored and transferred, it is vitally important that we have
a binding set of principles which enshrine the privacy of the
individual in protecting their own confidential health details."
People who believe there has been 'an interference in privacy'
of their information can apply to the Health Services
Commissioner to conciliate or investigate the complaint.
If not satisfied they can seek a binding decision from the
Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal. If the breach is
knowingly and flagrantly continued, the Health Services
Commissioner can then issue a compliance notice and if ignored
take the offender to court.
Mr Thwaites said the Bill was a lot stronger on patients privacy
than Federal draft legislation now being considered in Canberra.
People presently have no way to compel a private health
professional or agency to supply them or another health
professional with their medical history and records.
The Bill will allow individuals to request an explanation of
their health record or seek a second opinion. Disputes can be
referred to the Health Services Commissioner, or if an agency
fails to provide access to records within 45 days, the matter
can be taken to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal
for an enforceable order.
One should also note that information held by non-health
agencies will also come under the bill!
John W. Auchettl - Director PRA Research
Dr. Ron Barnett - Deputy Director
Ray Hall (Sr.RSci) - PRA
* Still in development.
The Hon John Thwaites, MP
Minister For Health, State of Victoria
. Copies of the draft Bill are available on
the DHS web (You may have access problems):
Phenomena Research Australia [PRA]
P.O. Box 523, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia, 3170
Australian & Asia UFO
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