Freezing out the folks: default My Health Record settings don’t protect teens’ privacy

A/Prof Lena Sanci and A/Prof Melissa Kang recently published in The Conversation on 27 July- The extra implications of the My Health Record for teenagers.

A/Prof Lena Sanci from the Department of General Practice and A/Prof Melissa Kang from University of Technology Sydney co-authored the article discussing the extra confidentiality concerns impacting on teenagers with the roll out of My Health Record. The benefits of young people seeking help early for physical or mental health concerns are many and varied, however adolescents have been known to forgo important and timely health care because of concerns about confidentiality. While My Health Record default settings will not allow display of Medicare and PBS claim information on the record to parents of teenagers aged 14 and over, parents may still be able to view other documents such as the health summary, medications prescribed, any test results, and specialist’s letters. Teenagers aged between 14 and 18 can however exercise their legal right to confidential health care under the My Health Record Scheme, but must take extra steps to keep their medical records private. These steps are discussed, along with changes that could be made to the system to allow for better provision of confidential health care to teenagers.