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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13580


Ms ROXON (GellibrandMinister for Health and Ageing) (12:25): I move:

That this bill be read a second time.

This bill makes a number of minor, consequential amendments to existing acts to support the introduction of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011, which I have just introduced into the parliament.

The system will enable patients who register to access their health information and make it available to participating healthcare providers, online, where and when it is needed.

To manage the information from different sources, a consumer's individual healthcare identifier number is used to ensure that only information relating to that consumer can be viewed through their e-health record.

This consequential amendments bill will ensure that the system is able to operate appropriately and effectively.

In order to enable the system to operate, a number of amendments to existing acts are required, including to the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 to allow the system to take up and use healthcare identifiers. Using healthcare identifiers will allow more accurate matching of health information to the correct consumer record and allow more accurate identification of healthcare providers.

The amendments to the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 will authorise the System Operator, and other entities such as Medicare acting on behalf of the System Operator, to handle healthcare identifiers in various ways including the capacity to:

collect, use and disclose healthcare identifiers for the purpose of registering consumers in the system; and

use healthcare identifiers to verify the identity of individuals during the registration process;

Similarly, authorisations are also sought for repository providers to:

disclose healthcare identifiers for the purpose of indexing documents uploaded to a consumers electronic health record; and

adopt healthcare identifiers as the main identifiers in their repository for information that is to be used within the system.

There will also need to be amendments to the Health Insurance Act 1973 and the National Health Act 1953 to allow a range of health records stored by Medicare to be included in a consumer's e-health record if the consumer so chooses.

The consequential amendments proposed in this bill will allow a range of records created by Medicare to be included in a consumer's e-health record. Consumers will be able to choose to have their Medical Benefits Scheme, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, organ donor and childhood immunisation information included in their e-health record. Both the Health Insurance Act 1973 and the National Health Act 1953 contain certain prohibitions regarding the linking of Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme information, and the amendments will displace those prohibitions only for e-health records system purposes.

This bill seeks to make these amendments so that consumers can have the health information they choose included in their e-health record to support their better coordinated and better informed ongoing health care.

I commend this bill also to the House.

Debate adjourned.