19 Dec Researchers Warn Medicare Data Can be Used to Identify Patients
In a recent study, researchers from the University of Melbourne revealed that it is possible to determine the identity of individual Australian patients in the government’s healthcare database using information publicly available online.
The data, which includes historical information from medical and pharmaceutical bills of around 10% of Australians, were thought to be anonymous. However, the researchers detailed in their report how they were able to identify seven famous Australians using readily available information on the Internet.
Co-author Dr. Vanessa Teague said that an exposure of such kind could have a profound impact on patients with chronic or stigmatizing illnesses, like those with mental health issues or HIV.
A Department of Health spokesperson said that the project has now been halted and the data has been taken offline.
Source: Radio Australia