I thought I'd jump in on another topical discussion at the moment.
Thanks to everyone who supported the AHPRA petition!
Let's talk about My Health Record.
So that's been transferred from an opt-in system in Australia to an opt-out.
So, If you don't opt-out in the next 11 weeks then you will automatically get a My Health Record created for you.
Now the word on the street is, I don't have direct evidence of this, but many GPs are not opting in for this.
They are opting out.
And yes, indeed, I am opting out too.
I don't see a lot of upside benefit for myself.
I don't have any chronic diseases, and yet the downside risks include identity theft, and I'd already opted out by the time that the Singapore data theft had occurred.
If you're not aware of this, 1.5 million records were taken.
Now apparently, there's no health records stolen, but just people's date of birth and all of their identifying information.
Now, if that's not a risk for identity theft, then I'm not really sure what is!
So there's the risk of identity theft from data breaches.
We've also just got through a whole issue around mandatory reporting, and so while there may or may not be data sharing between the government, it is entirely possible that AHPRA could request the data.
I don't see the benefit of having that.
Maybe the Government are ensuring that no, that will never happen, but the risk will be there.
Even to opt-out required logging in with my passport and medicare data, confirming there's definitely data sharing at some level.
Then I think the last part that comes up is this very interesting part from the health funds.
So we're talking about private health insurance here.
The NIB boss came out and said "We desperately need this data".
Now, he may well wish he had chosen some better words than "we desperately need this data", because obviously with access to MyHealthRecords, they're going to see what risk their clients have.
In reading the article the journalists were talking about - hey, will this be a risk for discrimination?
That suddenly your health insurance jumped up as the health funds computers trawl the data.
So I don't see a lot of upside benefits for me.
Sure, I can see the benefits for sure for those with chronic disease, and being able to data share that way.
But for every Australian, certainly as a GP being well, fit, and healthy at the moment, I don't see a lot of upside benefit.
I do see a lot of downside risk.
Now what could be a really good option instead of a government controlled one would be hey, if there was a secure, decentralized way of storing both information where I could actually have personal control and then I could share the data through my choice, say yes, let's sync up and it comes through and suddenly my doctor has access but no one else does, that would be really awesome, and the amazing thing is that this is actually possible.
There is this cool technology called blockchain, and you're probably familiar with it as a currency in Bitcoin.
Now Bitcoin has obviously gone skyrocketing up and then crashing down.
The thing is, the technology behind Bitcoin is actually a very useful way of storing decentralized secure information.
And there's actually another minable thing called Ether that does this exact thing, and so what the potential could be is that my results go up into my personal secure, decentralized storage place, and then I can choose and sync with medical software, and what would be really cool is if I could say, yes, I want you to have access to this, and then I don't want you to have access to this anymore and it cuts access.
I'm not sure if that's possible but certainly this would seem to be a better information storage methodology for health rather than the government controlled one which is a big target and as I said before - Singapore just had their database hacked.
All right, so what's the solution right now? Well, I'm choosing to opt out.
You should think about the benefits for you and look at the downside risks.
If you judge the downside risks to be greater than the benefits, then you too may choose to opt out from MyHealthRecord, and you need to do that before the end of the grace period runs out, which I believe is about 11 weeks from now.
This is just to bring your awareness to this choice you need to make, and if you choose to act on this information or not, that is your choice, but it is well worth thinking about the benefits and the risks of having a MyHealthRecord created for you as a health practitioner.
I look forward to seeing you again on future trainings on GraduateMedicine.com.