17 Feb 2015
No AHPRA permission for publication of data sourced from public online register.
The role of the National Boards and AHPRA in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme is to protect the public and manage risk to patients.
One of the features of the scheme is the online national registers of practitioners, which provide accurate, up to date information about the current registration status of every registered health practitioner in Australia. The National Law1 determines what information about each practitioner is published on the register.
The online registers are an invaluable source of information to consumers and health professionals. They are used by consumers to help them make informed decisions about health practitioners, and by employers to check the registration status of health practitioners.
A number of registered health practitioners have raised concerns with AHPRA about the publication of information, sourced from AHPRA’s online register, on the ‘doctorinspector’ website.
AHPRA has not given permission for the use of information from the public registers by this website. The website operators appear to have used technology known as screen scraping to automatically pull information from the public online register and republish it in a different context.
AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher, said the issue does not reflect in any way on the security and integrity of the confidential data held in the National Scheme.
’Screen scraping is an issue for organisations worldwide which publish information online. It involves automated programs collecting data from web pages that can then be manipulated and republished out of context,’ Mr Fletcher said.
Screen scraping technology does not affect unpublished data securely stored by AHPRA about individual practitioners and the website operators have no access to this confidential information.
’The only reliable source of information about the current registration status of registered health practitioners in Australia are the online registers,’ Mr Fletcher said.
1Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law), as in force in each state and territory.