Diversity via datafication? Digital patient records and citizenship for sexuality and gender diverse people

Mark D.M. Davis, Allegra Schermuly, Anthony K.J. Smith, Christy Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In 2018, the Australian Government adopted an ‘opt-out’ strategy to increase participation in My Health Record (MHR), the national digital patient record system. Opt out was rationalised through discourse on the universal right to health. Media controversy ensued due to privacy fears, security and commercial exploitation of patient information. LGBT community organisations warned that people with complex health needs should consider their privacy and legal situation when deciding whether or not to opt out of MHR. With reference to the health needs of sexuality and gender diverse people, we examine MHR’s rights universalism, possessive individualism, and state-based rationalisation of health governance. MHR hails all but no-one in particular, erasing diversity and straightwashing data medicine. It is a technological solution to state-based imperatives for health governance, an emphasis that does not serve minority communities or address health needs that attract stigma and prejudice. We counterpose these effects with citizenship framings seated in critical approaches to data assemblages and sexuality and gender diversity. We suggest ways in which data medicine, of which MHR is but one example, can be made more relevant and effective for individuals and communities whose healthcare is poorly served by mainstream health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-472
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Australia
  • Digital health
  • My Health Record
  • Sexuality and gender

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