Australians now have over two extra months to opt out of the My Health Record system, which is expected to create health records for 17 million people nationwide.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced via social media and the My Health Record website that Australians can choose to opt-out of the My Health Record system until January 31, 2019. The Minister for Health also stressed that individuals can also opt-out at any time after the deadline.
Speaking to the media last week, Hunt said: “At the end of the day, people can opt-out at any time during their lives. That is one of the things which may not have been fully understood”.
After January 31, 2019, Australians who haven’t opted out will be able to access their personal electronic health summary via the myGov portal. A My Health Record will include information such as referrals, reports and prescription documents. These can be accessed by the general practitioners, hospitals, pharmacies, aged care residential services and health services that are registered to the My Health Record system.
You can learn more about what’s in a My Health Record here.
So far, 1.1 million Australians have opted out of the health record system, while 300,000 have opted-in before the deadline. The opt-out extension came after the government was alerted to the My Health Record website’s high traffic which was caused by thousands attempting to opt-out before the November 15 deadline.
Since My Health Record was established in 2016, people have expressed their concern about the online privacy and safety of themselves, their personal information and their loved ones. However, the opt-out period extension means people can spend more time making an informed decision about the accessibility of their health records.
Alongside the announcement of the extended opt-out date, the government has introduced a bill to make some key changes to the My Health Record legislation. The latest amendment will ensure law enforcement agencies have a court order to access an individuals’ electronic health record.
The bill will also ensure that a My Health Record is “destroyed” by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) when an individual cancels their online record. Discussions within Parliament have resulted in the implementation of stronger penalties for illegal use of My Health Record information.
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