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Protecting our privacy in the electronic age


Brigid Veale
7 May 2010
How will individuals protect the privacy of their health and medical information in the age of electronic health records?

That is the topic of a public lecture by Peter Croll, Southern Cross University’s Professor of Information Technology and Information Systems, to be held at the Coffs Harbour campus on Wednesday, May 12.

The lecture titled ‘Electronic health records – weighing up the risks and benefits’ is part of the University’s Professorial Lecture Series and the North Coast Innovation Festival.

“The Australian Government is moving towards a universal approach to the adoption of electronic health records with the introduction of a national Health Identifier Bill in 2010,” Professor Croll said.

“This legislation could pave the way for all individuals to be assigned a unique identifier that can be used to link a range of records currently held by government and private organisations.”

Professor Croll said while there were possible benefits in quality and efficiency, there were also risks for confidentially and privacy.

“Can we trust IT systems and the organisations that use them? Health and medical information, which is essentially our information, is not necessarily under our control,” he said.

“We need to find the right balance between making health information easily accessible and ensuring the safety of the individual.”

Professor Croll will outline in very easy to understand way, what individuals need to know about their information and how to adequately protect that information.

Professor Croll has been researching and publishing on the safety of computer systems for more than 30 years. He is currently the Vice President of the Health Informatics Society of Australia and Chair of their Privacy and Security group.

The free lecture is being held in MLG13, Southern Cross University Coffs Harbour campus, on Wednesday, May 12 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. RSVP to Donna McIntrye on 66203503 or email [email protected]

Photo: Professor Peter Croll.