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Healthcare Identifier Bill Expected to Help Protect Privacy

PRIVACY LAW—AUSTRALIA

February 10, 2010

The introduction of a new national e-health identifier for all Australians is expected to assist with healthcare privacy issues, ZDNet Australia reports. Under the Healthcare Identifier Bill introduced into Parliament on Wednesday, unique 16-digit numbers will be assigned to individuals and healthcare providers by the middle of this year with the goal of streamlining the transfer of patient information. Although officials hope the system will help address privacy issues, some concerns have been raised. The minister of Health and Ageing has stated that amendments will be made to the Privacy Act to allow the federal privacy commissioner to take action in cases where the identifiers are misused.
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