National E-Health Plan Plagued by Privacy Concerns

HealthThe Rudd Government has not been able to calm the fears and concerns that are currently plaguing people with regards to the patient privacy and data security risks which could be related to the planned Healthcare Identifiers routine. Consumer and industry groups are now warning that the draft Bill is very "flawed".

Concerns are that the proposed identifier system will end up allowing the linkage of "personally identifiable information across multiple networks", the proposed routine is based on an old technology and has been designed in order to support a countrywide e-health records system that might never be built.

In addition to the potential safety threats, concerns have also emerged with regards to the expenses related to integration of new ID numbers into the medical systems, as well as the decision to exclude health funds which offer members various attractive health program packages.

Under the Government’s proposal, it has been planned that each patient would be receiving an individual health ID number, which would be linked to his or her Medicare numbers. The identification number, together with a person's name and address, is intended to help ensure that personal information sent across computer systems has been accurately matched.

It has been speculated that Medicare has already finished the development work, but technical details have not been provided.