Deadline for opting out of My Health Record looms

Posted: 24 January 2019 9:09 am

But you can now delete your My Health Record at any point.

In the week before the government creates a My Health Record (MHR) for every Australian (31 January 2019), it has announced that from 24 January 2018 new laws will make it so any Australian can permanently delete their My Health Record, along with any back-ups at any point in the future.

"The new permanent delete functionality means Australians will always have the choice not to have a record and they can remove all of their data from the My Health Record system. At any time in their lives, they can delete their record — and no copy will be kept," the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) said in a statement.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), a national peak body that represents the interests of Australian healthcare consumers, welcomed the announcement.

"This change will reassure those people who were concerned that their decision to opt-out of MHR would not prevent their record being accessed by officials at some later time," the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum Leanne Wells said in a statement.

While records will automatically be created from 31 January 2019, the fact that you can now be permanently deleted may abate a flood of people rushing to the My Health Record website to opt out on the day of the deadline, such as the situation in November 2018 which led to the site crashing. It was such a big topic that "How to opt out of My Health Record" was the most searched term on Google in the "How to...?" category in 2018.

What if you've already opted out?

According to the ADHA, currently, there are 6.45 million Australians with a My Health record, with roughly half a million Aussies opting in since July 2018. However, as at 24 October 2018, over 1.1 million Aussies had chosen to opt out.

If you've already opted out, don't worry about any back-up of your record being kept either.

"All records that have previously been cancelled will also be permanently deleted from the system," said the ADHA statement.

What else is happening?

This change comes in conjunction with new laws that prohibit insurers and employers accessing or using the information gathered by My Health Record. It also prevents insurers or employers from requesting this information for the purpose of insurance or employment. Additionally, these laws stipulate that law enforcement agencies cannot access a person's My Health Record without a warrant or court order.

Planning to opt out?

If you want to opt out of My Health Record, all you need to do is head over to the My Health Record website. Make sure you've got the following documents at hand and you'll be done within minutes:

  • Driver's licence, ImmiCard or passport
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) or Medicare card

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