Healthcare information protection in Australia is experiencing increasing pressures as new technologies are adopted, data exponentially grows and economic challenges persist. This is against a backdrop of increased demands for cross-border storage, global information access; big data analytics and higher public expectations. Unfortunately, the Australian legal framework is fragmented with significant differences applicable between Public and Private organisation at both the State and Federal levels. Our aging 1988 Commonwealth Privacy laws have recently undergone a much needed revision (in force March 2014) as the government now recognises that data protection responsibilities need greater legislative protection. These include: the recent Health Identifiers acts (2010), the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records acts (2012) and possibly, in line with the USA, new laws to cover Data Breach incidents with the proposed Privacy Alerts Bill (2013).
As well as organisations and systems being at risk, people are now at increased risk from those system. That is, their individual rights may be at risk, in danger of being subjugated to the efficiencies of these new systems and technologies. Hence, it is now vital more than ever that healthcare organisations strike the right balance when complying with the principals of accuracy, completeness, openness, accountability, security and confidentiality, for the combined benefit of their clients, scientific community and wider society.
This presentation will, therefore, provide practical guidance, together with an update on the compliance issues, for any practitioner responsible for the protection of healthcare information.