I just love people I’ve never met making decisions about my wellbeing. Especially when I’m not consulted. My Health Record is the latest gift from Big Brother, or should we call him Big Doctor?
Our government cares so much about my wellbeing that they have kindly created a complete online health record that will collate all my personal health details, both current and historic, alongside all my private identification data. And they didn’t even ask!
What a lovely surprise! Nothing more thrilling than the prospect of a little violation of your most personal data. All those STIs you’ve caught and passed on, those alcoholic binges, those psychotic episodes, all captured and released to all the good doctors at the other end.
Thanks to the new myhealthrecord.gov.au website, all my personal and confidential health records are soon to be accessible via one convenient little portal! Protected of course with a password – so we all know that it will be terribly secure! It’s just cut the guesswork out for any insurance companies who might be curious about just how risky I actually am. ‘She says she doesn’t smoke, but here we have a record back in the early 90s where she was doing three bongs a day.’ (I only told the doctor three; I was doing six.) Apparently, they won’t be given access – well at least not straightaway. They’ll be second in line after the police, who apparently can use the data without even using a warrant. Great way to find out who the drug users are and where they live. Just a little My Health Record googling and they’ll be able to knock up a spreadsheet of meth users, heroin addicts and pot heads. Gives some doors to knock on when things are a bit slow at the station.
Excuse me, Mr Government (paternalistic behaviour means I will be referring to the government gendered as a white privileged male, because typically they are the group who like to make decisions on behalf of all non-white privileged males), but I would have liked to have the choice to ‘opt in’ rather than being told I was already in something that I could choose to get out of. Like a bad marriage.
It’s a breach of one’s consent – as until I ‘opt out’ I am ‘in’ something I don’t entirely understand or give permission to be part of.
I am not normally a person prone to conspiratorial thinking and in theory the idea of a centralised and easily accessible health record certainly has some positives. For the more itinerant amongst us it means a continuity of health records while doctor shopping, or if you’re presented to ED after a serious accident your medications and pre-existing conditions will be immediately available.
But are doctors really going to read your records? They’re going to need a few hours before a consult to read all about your haemorrhoids, high blood pressure and halitosis. Riveting reading.
And what if you have an argument with a doctor or they’ve made an incorrect diagnosis – or their notes include something prejudicial about your lifestyle that not only will never be removed but is accessible – forever? What if you have a history of mental health issues; how can you be assured that information like that won’t be accessed by future employers? What if you were an injecting drug user, or you still are and you don’t want your workplace to know? What assurance is there that your private information is going to stay private?
Won’t the doctor’s receptionist have your password? I am sure they’re lovely but that feels like a bit of a glitch in the security right there. Could hackers breach patient records and use the information to create fake identities, or commit cyber-crimes? Don’t think it doesn’t happen because it just did last week in Singapore where 1.5 million Singapore patient records were duplicated by hackers. Including the prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. If the prime minister’s records can’t be protected, what hope does anyone else have?
I have opted out. It’s not hard. I just googled ‘my health record how to opt out’, then I clicked the link and filled in the required data that requested that I and my dependent children to be removed from Big Doctor. So now the government have a record of me as an opter outer. Let’s see what happens to me now.