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Electronic health records and
new health privacy laws forum
2 May 2002

Over the past year NCOSS has discussed with a range of community and consumer organisations the proposed NSW health privacy legislation and the development of linked Electronic Health Records ('the EHR'). Discussions consistently raised a number of issues of concern including the need for:

  • effective protection of privacy, particularly for vulnerable groups;
  • maximising the potential health outcomes; and
  • the full participation of non-government organisations (NGOs) and health consumers in any implementation processes.

There is a great deal of interest within the community sector concerning recent developments in health privacy and electronic health information. In November 2001, NSW Health released an exposure draft of the Health Records and Information Privacy Bill ('the Bill'). The draft Bill proposes a set of privacy principles that would govern the collection and use of health information in both the public and private sectors. Health privacy principles in the Bill would govern the implementation and administration of the EHR, which will bring together information held about a person by different parts of the state's health system.

Both the Bill and the EHR have significant implications for the community, particularly in relation to vulnerable people and health consumers with chronic and complex needs. They have the potential to enhance both the health consumer's privacy and the transparency of the health system. Implemented appropriately, the EHR could contribute towards addressing some current problems in the delivery of health and community care. At the same time they raise many concerns for health consumers.

The Forum was designed as an opportunity for a range of consumers and community groups across NSW to receive information about the EHR and its proposed legislative framework, and to contribute to NSW Health's implementation strategies.

  • Report of the NCOSS forum on Electronic health records and new health privacy laws
    • Guide to the Health Records and Information Privacy
    • Exposure Draft Bill
    • The complaints and investigation processes under the Health Records and Information Privacy Bill
    • The Electronic Health Record -What does it mean for consumers?
    • Workshop outcomes: Population groups; NGOs, health consumers and carers
    • NCOSS Briefing on the Health Records and Information Privacy Bill 2002
    (520kb pdf document)

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Council of Social Service of New South Wales
66 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
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