The Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) has today enabled more mobile apps to connect to the My Health Record so that consumers have more choices about the ways they get real time access to their health information.
Australia’s need for a connected healthcare system is now greater than ever. One that’s accessible, progressive and – importantly – secure.
The My Health Record allows consumers and their healthcare providers to access information about their medicines, pathology test results, imaging reports, hospital visits, and summaries of their health status. Consumers can currently access their My Health Record through four mobile apps available through app stores, or through MyGov.
Over 22.7 million Australians now have a My Health Record and these records contain over 1.8 billion documents which are increasing every day.
The Agency paused new apps from connecting to the My Health Record during its expansion of the My Health Record to opt-out. At the time, there was significant interest from innovators to offer apps that connected to the My Health Record.
Steven Issa, the Agency’s Chief Digital Officer, said “The security and safety of people’s health information is our priority. We have undertaken a comprehensive review of how apps – and the organisations that offer them – should use the latest security and privacy measures to achieve our confidence that this precious information will be protected. We have now implemented all changes arising from that review.
Australians put their trust in us to use the highest standards to operate the My Health Record, and we are at a point where we are confident that sufficient controls are in place for any new connecting mobile apps.
The ‘Mobile Gateway’ allows a consumer to authenticate to the My Health Record and view the information in their My Health Record, along with other services the app provides.
Mobile apps can provide consumers with new ways to understand and use the information in their My Health Record, and ultimately, to make better informed decisions about staying well or managing their health conditions.”
In reopening the Mobile Gateway, the Agency has added a range of new requirements to connecting apps. This includes clauses in the legal agreement signed by app operators to more explicitly prohibit them from making a copy of system data and using data for any other secondary purpose. This is backed up by civil penalties of up to $315,000, or up to $1.575 million for a body corporate, for an unauthorised collection, use or disclosure of My Health Record information, per offence. Criminal penalties may also apply under the My Health Records Act 2012.
Under the Act, it is also a requirement that any servers and infrastructure used to connect to the system be located within Australia.
The Agency has also put additional obligations on app providers relating to their commercial model, quality processes, company ownership and management, and requirements for independent audit.
The Agency will continue to log and analyse access to the My Health Record system, to ensure those operating apps are remaining compliant with their obligations under the Act and legal agreement with the Agency.
“We appreciate the patience of innovators while we completed our security and privacy review, then implemented additional requirements to even more stringently safeguard Australians’ health information. We’re looking forward to seeing fantastic new apps for consumers to get the full benefits from having a My Health Record.
The need to manage our health and receive health services remotely is highlighting the incredibly important role technology can play in meeting the challenge posed by this global pandemic. We are fortunate in Australia that governments and the private sector have invested in health technology and we are now able to use it to get the best outcomes for the country,” Mr Issa said.
Download the Media Release here
Australian Digital Health Agency media contact:
Mobile: 0428 772 421
Email: media [at] digitalhealth.gov.au
About the Australian Digital Health Agency
The Agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, and implementing Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia in collaboration with partners across the community. The Agency is the System Operator of My Health Record, and provides leadership, coordination, and delivery of a collaborative and innovative approach to utilising technology to support and enhance a clinically safe and connected national health system. These improvements will give individuals more control of their health and their health information, and support healthcare providers to deliver informed healthcare through access to current clinical and treatment information. Further information: www.digitalhealth.gov.au.