The Conversation

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Are you staying in or opting out of the My Health Records scheme? Australians have until mid-October to decide, before having a record automatically generated.

We've heard at lot about privacy concerns over the past two weeks, but what would a data breach look like? Cassandra Cross runs through some of the recent health information hacks but notes the biggest risks might come from human error, when data is inadvertently released.

While most of us worry about our data being hacked, teens have a different concern: their data being accessed by parents. Under the default settings, parents can see information about teens' medications, tests results and specialist letters. As Melissa Kang and Lena Sanci write, teens who have a My Health Record need to adjust their settings to maintain their confidentiality.

Meanwhile, if you're thinking opting out, have you considered what you're left with? You've already got some electronic health records, the problem is, bits and pieces of information are stored on various digital and paper filing systems across the health sector. These records can't be accessed by other providers and are just as vulnerable to breaches, as Peter Bragge and Chris Brain explain.

Enjoy the second edition of Thrive. 

Fron Jackson-Webb

Senior Health + Medicine Editor/Chief of Staff

There are measures teenagers can take to protect sensitive details in their My Health Record. From

Freezing out the folks: default My Health Record settings don't protect teens' privacy

Melissa Kang, University of Technology Sydney; Lena Sanci, University of Melbourne

The My Health Record brings a unique set of confidentiality concerns for young people under 18. These need to be better addressed to ensure teens don't forego important health care.

Opting out of My Health Records? Here's what you get with the status quo

Peter Bragge, Monash University; Chris Bain, Monash University

If you're opting out of My Health Records, you're opting in to "business as usual". Here's what the current system looks like.

What could a My Health Record data breach look like?

Cassandra Cross, Queensland University of Technology

Concerns about the scheme have prompted some Australians – including Liberal MP Tim Wilson and former Queensland premier Campbell Newman – to opt out.

The case for and against

  • My Health Record: the case for opting in

    Jim Gillespie, University of Sydney

    My Health Record is a step towards empowering patients with greater knowledge about their health – and could help save lives in emergencies.

  • My Health Record: the case for opting out

    Katharine Kemp, UNSW; Bruce Baer Arnold, University of Canberra; David Vaile, UNSW

    Unless you take action to remove yourself before October 15, the federal government will make a digital copy of your medical record, store it centrally, and give numerous people access to it.

Furry friends

I’ll try to be there for you 100 percent. Chris Gladis

Lending a helping paw: Dogs will aid their crying human

Julia Meyers-Manor, Ripon College; Emily Sanford, Johns Hopkins University

Many dog owners have tales of their faithful companion licking away their tears. Researchers investigated whether, beyond being comforting, canines would actually take action to help an upset owner.

A running dog is a happy dog! James Ting/Unsplash

Are you walking your dog enough?

Paul McGreevy, University of Sydney; Adrian Bauman, University of Sydney

All dogs need regular exercise outside of the home (and it's good for people too).

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

Curious Kids: Why do volcanoes erupt?

Heather Handley, Macquarie University

When magma rises towards the surface gas bubbles start to form. Whether or not they can escape as the magma is rising affects how explosive the eruption will be.

Curious Kids: How do SIM cards make a phone work?

Philip Branch, Swinburne University of Technology

SIM cards link accounts to handsets. They keep communications private. They store messages. Although small and simple, they are a big part of modern mobile phone systems.

Curious Kids: Why do you blink when there is a sudden loud noise close by?

John Furness, University of Melbourne

The loud noise might be a warning that there is something falling nearby, or flying towards you. Our brain tells our eyes to quickly shut, to help protect them from any damage.

Curious Kids: what's it like to be a fighter pilot?

Mike Tipton, University of Portsmouth

You have to be smart and fast to be a fighter pilot – but perhaps the most surprising challenge is the clothes you have to wear.

Take a break

Craft can be done solitary or with other people, and its up to you to decide. rawpixel unsplash

How craft is good for our health

Susan Luckman, University of South Australia

Craft allows us to enter an immersive state of balance between skill and challenge.

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