Health Identifiers and Patient Privacy

An article for the iappANZ, exposing the “grim myth” that clinical efficacy and privacy are at odds.

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An invited article for the A-NZ chapter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (iappANZ) discussing the Australian health identifiers system, and its less understood privacy impacts.


“The identifier service service will also know, for no good reason, every time a rural patient visits a doctor in another town, a teenager sees a doctor who is not their family GP, or a patient seeks a second opinion. The sheer visibility of these intensely personal encounters will inhibit some from seeking the healthcare they desire.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
All agree that privacy is a cornerstone of healthcare, so let’s not be drawn into the grim myth that efficacy and privacy are at odds, or that privacy is simply a governance issue.

Lockstep iappANZ column Patient privacy polarising March 2010