The Australian Health Care System is regarded world class for its effectiveness and efficiency. It consists of the mix system of health providers in both the private and public sector. The funding mechanism is highly advantageous to its entire citizen, which consists of the 30% Rebate, Pharmaceutical Benefit and Medicare. In particular, Medicare has been ensuring all Australian nationals with access to free and low cost medical, optometric, hospital care with special option to private health services in special circumstances.
In an effort to further improve the Australian Health Care System, an initiative was formulated in December 2008 in the Australian Health Ministers Conference for a National E-Health Strategy. This aims to formulate consolidated medical information of all Australians with the aim of optimizing the quality and efficiency of health delivery through electronic communications and information technology to ensure the right health info at the right time and place in a manner that privacy is secured. This initiative was highly regarded as a major achievement of the incumbent government upon its complete realization.
Upon its initiation this was forwarded to the Senate Community Affairs committee and known as “Healthcare Identifiers Bill (HI)” as proposed by Ms Nicola Roxon, Minister of Health, for inquiry and report on significant changes. The Minister of health has relied on Medicare as secure guardians of Medical information. In this case that the HI bill will have not much objections and gain support of the senate committee and thus earn favourable endorsement.
This bill aims to provide every Australian a 16 digit identity number and more than 600,000 healthcare providers such as pharmacist, psychologist, podiatrist etc. will be given unique identity numbers to access patient numbers. Medicare services will not store clinical information along with patient’s number, name address, and Date of birth but instead the HI number will be used to consolidate the records from various healthcare providers.
On the contrary, Medicare Australia has uncovered employees for possible unauthorized access of client records in the past 3 years. This case therefore alarmed Health Consumers, Privacy and Technology advocates on the infringement of the right to privacy. This is case identifies the possibility of the illegal access of records that may be their own, relatives or friends. It raises the possibility that records are altered for self-interest or gain unlawful reimbursements that would defraud the government. There is therefore an issue on the security of the system and likewise personal data and information which may be used for illegal activities.
Australian IT has found evidence from 948 staff from a total employee of 5887, accessed illegally the patient’s database for apparently snooping at client files for no valid reason. This was a result of a 3 year surveillance report from November 2006 to December 2009. It was disputed by...