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My Health Record avoids cybersecurity breaches despite dizzying growth in usage

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The compromise of Monash IVF marks the latest in a string of cyberattacks on healthcare providers but the government’s controversial My Health Record (MyHR) system escaped compromise during the last financial year, with no malicious breaches recorded despite the addition of more than 550 million documents to the system over the past year.

The figures, contained in the latest annual report by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), highlighted the rapid growth of MyHR since it was changed from an opt-in program to an opt-out program a year ago.

This rapid growth was driven by the addition of some 480m Medicare documents, 35m prescription and dispensing-related documents, 11.3m pathology reports, 2.45m diagnostic imaging reports and 2.4m documents related to the Australian Immunisation Register – all reflecting the typical volumes of data attributable to the first year of the system being actively used across a broad range of health services.

This growth represented “significant progress” towards delivering on the National Digital Health Strategy, ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said in announcing the results, with 90 percent of Australians – 22.55m MyHR records – now participating in the system.

Despite early concerns that the growing volume of medical information would present a tempting honeypot of personally identifiable information (PII) for malicious cybercriminals, there had been “no purposeful or malicious attacks compromising the integrity or security of the My Health Record system”, the report noted.