Privacy override could ‘undermine confidence’ in e-health system

GPs and consumers are at odds over a ‘break glass’ emergency provision that will allow doctors to override patient privacy settings in the government’s personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) system. 

The debate comes as Health Minister Nicola Roxon last week ruled out paying GPs to help establish and curate patient records in the system.

Ms Roxon, unveiling the system’s concept of operations last week, told reporters the government was “not contemplating” a special rebate to compensate GPs for the time it takes to create and maintain the records.

But it was the ‘break glass’ provision in the concept of operations, which would allow clinicians to access otherwise restricted material in situations where consent could not be given by the patient, that has divided GPs and consumers.

National E-Health Transition Authority clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the provision was