Amos v Western NSW Local Health District; Arnold v Western NSW Local Health District [2017] NSWCATAD 359

Decision date: 6 December 2017
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Government information – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the supply of confidential information that facilitates effective exercise of agency functions – workplace investigation – human resources and patient safety functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice effective exercise of agency functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to disclose information provided in confidence – balancing of public interests. Personal information – whether disclosure would reveal an individual’s personal information or contravene an Information Privacy Principle – whether information already revealed – balancing of public interests.
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Paramedics launch class action over the sale of their medical records to personal injury solicitors

SMH, 18 November 2017
Author: Harriet Alexander
“Ambulance staff whose medical records were sold to solicitors will launch a class action against NSW Ambulance in the Supreme Court on Monday in an action that will test privacy law. NSW Ambulance contractor Waqar Malik was convicted of unlawfully disclosing personal information last year after he sold the worker’s compensation files of 130 former and current employees to personal injury lawyers.”
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US approves digital pill that tracks use when swallowed

SMH, 15 November 2017
Author: Pam Belluck
“For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill – a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine. Although voluntary, the technology has prompted questions about privacy and whether patients might feel pressure to take medication in a form their doctors can monitor.”
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The right to know versus the right to privacy: donor anonymity and the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2016 (Vic)

Med J Aust 2017; 207 (9): 377-378.
Author: Xavier Symons
“Recent Victorian legislation is ethically defensible but will need to be closely monitored. On 1 March 2017, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) came into effect, allowing for the retrospective release of anonymous donor information to donor-conceived children. The legislation, an Australian first, allows donor children to know the name, date of birth, ethnicity, physical characteristics, genetic conditions and donor code of their donor parents, even where anonymity has been requested.”
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Genetic privacy v duty to disclose: who wins?

MJA Insight, 6 November 2017
Author: Jane McCredie
“As we delve ever further into the human genome, ethical and legal frameworks are struggling to keep up. Given the potential of genetic information to affect people’s employment prospects, or ability to get insurance, there’s been an understandable focus on protecting genetic privacy. But what of situations where a patient refuses to share information that might give relatives the opportunity to identify their own genetic risk and seek early prevention or treatment?”
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Officer of the Law

N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1610-1611
Author: Raphael Rush
“With rare exceptions, I do not have to share patients’ diagnoses with anyone. But in Ontario, patients with any medical condition that might impair their driving must be reported to the provincial Ministry of Transportation. The treating physician has broad discretion to decide what qualifies as potentially impairing. Like many physicians, I advise patients not to drive until the government deems them fit. It’s one of the few legally required breaks of doctor–patient confidentiality. For each report, the provincial insurer pays doctors $36.25.”
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Aetna offers emergency compensation for HIV disclosure victims

The Hill, 2 October 2017
Author: Nathaniel Weixel
“Health insurance giant Aetna is offering cash reimbursements to some of the people who were affected when the company accidentally disclosed the HIV statuses of some of its customers. The “emergency relief” program will offer reimbursement and payments to individuals who say they have incurred financial hardship as a direct result of the privacy breach.”
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Seven Network Limited v South Eastern Sydney Local Health District [2017] NSWCATAD 210

Decision date: 27 June 2017
“Government Information (Public Access) – application for disclosure of CCTV footage of assaults on staff at hospitals – whether overriding public interest against disclosure – disclosure of personal information and health information – disclosure prejudicing the effective exercise of the agency’s functions – whether pixelation of faces and identifying marks would avoid concerns – impact on operations of hospitals if footage recording treatment of patients was released.”
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Merck hack part of a massive global attack

Philly.com, 27 June 2017
Author: Chris Mondics
“A massive ransomware attack Tuesday took down computers across the globe, including the systems of the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co., which has extensive operations in the Philadelphia area. The attack was detected at computers in Merck facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey around 8 a.m., and the company acknowledged it a few hours later. The attack on Merck was part of a larger digital assault worldwide.”
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Physicians, Patients, and Firearms: The Courts Say ‘Yes’

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(10):745-746.
Authors: Marian E. Betz, Megan L. Ranney, Garen J. Wintemute
“On 16 February 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned key provisions of Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act (FOPA), the 2011 ‘gag law’ that sought to deter physicians from discussing firearms with patients. This 10-to-1 decision focused on physicians’ and patients’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. It upheld the original District Court ruling in favor of physicians who had challenged FOPA and nullified 3 prior opinions by a panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court itself. Four provisions of the law were challenged, and the court invalidated 3 of them.”
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