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The Health Information Bill
The main objective of the Health Information Bill (“the Bill”) is to establish a legislative framework to deal with the collection, use, sharing and disclosure of personal health information. The Bill aims to allow information to be used effectively so as to enhance medical care and patient safety throughout the health service. The Bill is due to be published next month and will go before the Oireachtas in the Autumn.
The legislation aims to strengthen the rights of individuals in relation to their health information, giving them increased control over who has access to their information and for what purpose. The Legislation imposes an obligation on the information holder not to disclose such information without informed consent. Physical protections will also be included to prevent unauthorised access to health information.
The legislation will make provision for new initiatives such as unique health identifiers, health registries and an enhanced role for research ethics committees. The facilitation of improved clinical auditing will also be tackled, an issue which was highlighted in the Madden Report on Patient Safety. The Bill has been welcomed, for placing the processing of health information on a secure footing and for bringing much needed clarity and consistency.