ACT Health Minister announces data collection review after concerns about accuracy

SMH, 14 February 2017
Author: Katie Burgess
“The accuracy of ACT Health’s performance figures are again under scrutiny, more than five years after an employee was stood down for doctoring emergency service data. ACT health minister Meegan Fitzharris has ordered an urgent review into ACT Health’s data collection after the department failed to provide figures on its emergency department to the Productivity Commission for its annual comparison of the performance of states and territories.”
Find article here.

A thousand words in the palm of your hand: management of clinical photography on personal mobile devices

Med J Aust 2016; 205 (11): 499-500.
Authors: Kieran G Allen, Paul Eleftheriou, John Ferguson
“Opportunities to optimise patient care have been enhanced by this immediate transfer of accurate and relevant clinical images. Despite these benefits, photographic documentation of the patient’s condition on PMDs creates a sensitive personal record on inherently insecure devices when the patient is vulnerable. This exposes patients to an ongoing risk of potentially serious consequences and psychological harm in the event of illicit publication. Health care organisations must ensure that security is a paramount concern and that their clinicians obtain consent appropriately to minimise the risk of a breach of patient confidentiality.”
Find article here.

Becoming partners, retaining autonomy: ethical considerations on the development of precision medicine

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:67
Authors: Alessandro Blasimme, Effy Vayena
“Precision medicine promises to develop diagnoses and treatments that take individual variability into account. According to most specialists, turning this promise into reality will require adapting the established framework of clinical research ethics, and paying more attention to participants’ attitudes towards sharing genotypic, phenotypic, lifestyle data and health records, and ultimately to their desire to be engaged as active partners in medical research.”
Find article here.

Questions still need answering in Australia’s largest health data breach

The Conversation, 31 October 2016
Author: David Glance
“In what is Australia’s biggest data breach of medical information, more than 550,000 customers of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service had personal and medical details exposed online and leaked to an anonymous hacker last week.”
Find article here.

China Investigating Data Leak and Swindling of H.I.V. Patients

NYT, 21 July 2016
Source: Sinosphere
“Hundreds of people with H.I.V. across China were reporting that they were being called by someone who claimed to be from the government and had access to their medical records and other personal information.The director of a support network based in Beijing for people with H.I.V./AIDS, said he began receiving the messages about two weeks ago. While awaiting answers as to how their medical data was hacked or leaked, people with H.I.V. are worried about the possibility of new swindles or blackmail.”
Find article here.

Care.data has been scrapped, but your health data could still be shared

The Conversation, 12 July 2016
Author: Eerke Boiten
“Following a review by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the UK government decided to pull the plug on care.data, a controversial NHS initiative to store all patient data on a single database. This may seem like a victory for data-privacy advocates, but NHS data-sharing initiatives are still being planned and the goalposts are being moved on patient consent.”
Find article here.

US Healthcare records offered for sale online

BBC, 27 June 2016
Source: BBC News
“Three US healthcare organisations are reportedly being held to ransom by a hacker who stole data on hundreds of thousands of patients. The hacker has also put the 650,000 records up for sale on dark web markets where stolen data is traded. Prices for the different databases range from $100,000 (£75,000) to $411,000.”
Find article here.

Access to core information critical to e-health record success

AMA, statement 16 June 2016
“Doctors and other health workers need to have access to core clinical information in electronic medical records if the Federal Government’s My Health Record system is to deliver an improvement in patient care, the AMA has said. Releasing the AMA’s updated Position Statement, Shared Electronic Medical Records 2016, today, AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said that giving patients the ability to block or modify access to critical information such as medications, allergies, discharge summaries, diagnostic test results, blood pressure and advance care plans compromised the clinical usefulness of shared electronic medical records loaded on the My Health Record system.”
Find statement here.

Did Google’s NHS patient data deal need ethical approval?

New Scientist, 25 May 2016
Author: Hal Hodson
“Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind has access to the identifiable personal medical information of millions of UK patients through a data-sharing agreement with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Later, DeepMind deployed a medical app called Streams for monitoring kidney conditions without first contacting the relevant regulatory authority. DeepMind’s partnership with the Royal Free provides it with fully identifiable information – including names, addresses and details of medical conditions – for the 1.6 million patients treated at Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free each year. It also includes complete data on all patients treated by the trust in the past five years.”
Find article here.

Telstra wins contract to manage your health records

SMH, 26 May 2016
Author: Mark Kenny
“The Australian government is pushing ahead with plans to place sensitive medical records under corporate management and will announce on Thursday that Telstra Health – a division of Telstra – has been awarded the contract to manage a new national cancer screening register from next year. The contract signals an end to a series of smaller registries managed on a not-for-profit basis. The novel foray into medical information management by the telecommunications giant could be unpopular with patients raising concerns about privacy and security, and even raising questions over the extent of legal protection under Australian law if data is stored or transmitted offshore.”
Find article here.