The Federal Government will change the law to reassure Australians their privacy will be protected in the My Health Record system.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said legislative amendments to the online health database would ensure police and government agencies cannot access information against a patient’s wish without a court order.
He has also announced people will be able to withdraw after the opt-out period ends and all information about their electronic health record will be deleted.
Under the original plan, some basic information about all records would have been kept, even if a patient asked for it to be deleted.
“The Digital Health Agency’s policy is clear and categorical — no documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order,” Mr Hunt said in a statement.
“This will be enshrined in legislation. This change to the My Health Record Act will therefore remove any ambiguity on this matter.”
Concern about potential problems with privacy had been growing, with claims police and other agencies would be able to access data without a court order or a warrant.
The current legislation does not specifically state that a court order is required to access a patient’s My Health Record.
Mr Hunt’s announcement comes after he met with doctor groups about the system, which will store medical records on an electronic government database.
The electronic health record could include information such as prescriptions, allergies and medical summaries.
Australians have until mid-October to opt out of the system.
The Federal Opposition has previously called for the opt-out period to be extended to give people more time to decide whether they want their medical records stored electronically.