Amid mounting pressure from privacy activists and a public concerned by how their medical data will be used, Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a number of changes to be made to the My Health Record rollout, from what happens when you cancel a record to restrictions around who can access the data.
The changes were announced last night at a meeting with doctors from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, intended to discuss concerns about the new system and figure out a better system.
July 16 marks the start of the three-month period in which Australians can opt-out of the government's My Health Record. Planned as an "online summary of your health information" that "can be accessed at any time by you and your healthcare providers", there are no guarantees about how your data will be used by said providers. Here's what you need to know about MHR and how to opt-out if privacy is your main concern.
While calls to make the comprehensive online health record opt-in rather than opt-out don't seem to have been noted, the two changes that will definitely happen are a big step for the privacy of those with a My Health Record and even for those without.
"The Digital Health Agency’s policy is clear and categorical," a release from Greg Hunt says. "No documents have been released in more than six years and no documents will be released without a court order."
The second change regards people who already have a My Health Record and want to cancel. Previously, cancelled records would still be kept on file for 30 years after your death. Now, you'll be able to have your record deleted fully from the system.
The changes won't be put into place straight away, but Hunt has said they will be implemented as soon as possible. The Government has also indicated it's likely the opt-out period will be extended as more work is put into educating the public about the system and how it works.