Paper files still safer than electronic records: experts

EXPERTS have defended the security of patient information held in hard copy general practice files after Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the government’s personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system would be more secure than traditional paper records.

The minister said last week there were “very few protections” for paper records in general practice, with a spokesperson later telling MO e-health records would be more secure because they would be subject to a range of mechanisms to protect privacy.

However, MDA National medico­legal and advisory services manager Dr Sara Bird said the minister’s apparent concerns about record security in general practice were ill-founded.

“Breaches of privacy and confidentiality involving paper-based records are currently virtually unheard of,” she said. “The PCEHR will have many more attendant risks of privacy breaches.”

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