To help upgrade the Healthcare Identifier service, Medicare will be granted $34 million, which will also allow it to create a PCEHR (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record) system. Privacy groups have voiced concern over "greater data linkages" between federal agencies, including Medicare and Human Services, The Australian reports. The department, thus far, has not heeded calls by Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim to take "a unified approach to privacy protections" and "streamline operation across the patchwork of jurisdictional health and privacy legislation," the report states. However, according to the department's submission, "Instead of overriding local privacy laws, the bill will allow existing laws to operate wherever they are not inconsistent with the PCEHR legislation." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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