The deadline to opt out of My Health Record is approaching this week, and MPs on both sides of politics are pushing to have that deadline extended. More and more people are rushing to opt out in the final moments, causing outages and issues with the process that may cause some to miss out on the deadline. Here's everything you need to know at this point.
Though you may have already forgotten it exists, the deadline to opt out of the controversial My Health Record is coming up soon. If you've been meaning to get around to opting out, or just haven't made a decision either way yet, now's the time to get up and do it.
As things stand now, anyone who hasn't opted out of My Health Record by November 15 will have one automatically created for them. However the system is still rife with privacy concerns, and these concerns caused the senate to pass a motion calling for a longer opt-out period for the program — even after an earlier Senate inquiry recommended an opt-out period of 12 months, which was then rejected.
Just last week the director of privacy at the agency behind My Health Record quit, citing concerns about the system and a feeling that those concerns were not being taken seriously.
Proposed legislation from earlier in the year went a long way towards addressing some of the more major security concerns with My Health Record, but this legislation hasn't been passed yet. As Labor health spokesperson Catherine King said, "there’s no guarantee the legislation will even pass this year – meaning some Australians may opt out unnecessarily over concerns that are addressed by the legislation." Thus the Senate has suggested extending the opt-out period at least until the amendments have been made.
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.
In September it was revealed that 900,000 people had opted out of My Health Record — and more concerningly, that this was 'significantly less' than the ADHA had expected. It's possible that there is simply not enough information available about the system, and what opting out (or failing to) means.
Interestingly some pharmacies are now dispensing scripts with My Health Record branding on the back. While the help line listed on the advertising can be used to opt out, the messaging doesn't mention anything suggesting people are able to, or should think about opting out.
My script repeat today came with My Health Record... advertising? No info on how to opt out though. pic.twitter.com/g7Ss4U7eQ7
— Spoopy Elise (@_HayleyElise) November 13, 2018
With privacy concerns being ignored and transparency seemingly out the window - health minister Greg Hunt just last week refused to disclose how many Australians had opted out - My Health Record seems to be getting messier by the day. Let's hope common sense will prevail, and the deadline will be extended until the system is a little more clear.
But to be on the safe side, you might might want to consider doing it now - here's how to opt out.