NZ: Hospital IDs focus of privacy debate

Stephen Bell Wellington writes in Computerworld:

With the renewed focus on privacy in both New Zealand and Australia, Melbourne-based health software company TrakHealth has had to defend the approach it took to a public health patient-tracking system it recently developed for Brazil.

The system will provide every Brazilian with an identifying number and plastic card similar to the health and social services card scheme mooted by the recently ousted John Howard government in Australia. This has been canned by the new Rudd Labor government, because of fears it could surreptitiously be developed into a broad national ID system.


But Brazil has other concerns. “In Brazil, emphasis is on the efficiency of care, not on fears about privacy,” says Kerry Stretton, managing director of healthcare for TrakHealth owner InterSystems (Computerworld, February 25).

And Denis Tebbut, managing director for Intersystems’ international arm, in Sydney, says he knows personally of at least one case in Australia where vital information was passed between doctors in technical contravention of the privacy regulations. It was in regard to the medical records of a patient who turned up at accident and emergency.

“Which would you rather have: respect for your privacy or survival?”

Read More – Computerworld (NZ)

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