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Genomics in the Records

Australia's My Health Record system will be able to store genetic and genomic data, stirring up privacy concerns, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The My Health Record system, it adds, is an opt-out system and has been touted as a means to improve patient care and bolster medical research. It is to launch later this year.

The Herald reports that Genome.One, a whole genome sequencing company that's a subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, developed the needed tools to upload genomic data to the record system. It says it would only upload genomic pathology reports — rather than full sequencing reports — though the Herald notes that would still include data on whether patients are at increased risk of certain cancers and other diseases.

Critics also argue that greater protections should be in place surrounding genomic data before it is added to medical records, the Herald adds. "In my opinion, it's too early to include it … it should happen after privacy and insurance legislations have been reviewed and after the core health record system has been in existence for longer," Paul Lacaze, head of Public Health Genomics at Monash University, tells the paper.