Good news privacy fans: you now have two more months to opt out of My Health Record (AKA the government's controversial online database of everyone's health information.) Here are the details.
Unless new legislation is passed today, Australians will no longer be able to opt out of the government's My Health Record from tomorrow. 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.
My Health Record is described as an "online summary of your health information" that "can be accessed at any time by you and your healthcare providers".
The idea is that it will help to speed up consultations with health professionals, prevent medication mix ups and free up wasteful paperwork. However, there are no guarantees about how your data will be used by said providers.
After blow back from various privacy advocates, the government opted to provide an "opt out" window until November 15. Today, the Senate voted to extend My Health Record's opt-out period. The new cut off date is 31 January, 2019.
Today the Government worked with the Senate crossbench to extend the opt-out period for #MyHealthRecord.
The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it’s important to note that people can opt-out at any time.
— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) November 14, 2018
Labor’s push for a 12-month extension of the My Health Record opt-out period was defeated 32-30 but a second amendment for a new deadline of 31 January was later accepted. The bill won't be passed until 26 November, but for all intents and purposes the extension is now law.
There are a bunch of reasons you might want to consider opting out of the scheme. Giving health insurers unfettered access to your medical history is just one example. There's also the potential for data breaches which could result in your records being used for god knows what.
To opt out of My Health Record, you can either go the online route by visiting the My Health Record website or call 1800 723 471 and do it over the phone. (A mail-in form is also available.)
You can read a summary of why people are choosing to opt out here. (For the sake of balance, here are some reasons you might want to stay in the scheme.)