Final day to opt out of My Health Record

Posted: 31 January 2019 6:55 am

Pros and cons of opting out of My Health Record.

The final day to opt out of My Health Record (MHR) is officially upon us. If all goes well, ie the website doesn't crash again, starting tomorrow every Australian will have an online summary of their health information on the My Health Record database.

Whether or not to opt out of My Health Record has been quite the topic of conversation, with "How to opt out of My Health Record" the number one Google search for Australians in the "How to" category in 2018. But should you opt out?

What information is being stored?

Healthcare professionals such as your GP will add clinical documents to your record. These records will include items such as any medication you're taking, results from blood tests or scans and discharge summaries. All of this will form the basis of your shared health summary.

Your file will also be updated with information from Medicare, such as immunisations you've received that are included in the Australian Immunisation Register, whether or not you're an organ donor, as well as information held by the Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) in relation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS).

Additional information you can upload include your contact details, medications you're taking, allergies that aren't recorded and whether you're a Veteran, member of the Defence Force or an Indigenous Australian.

Pros of not opting out

One of the major benefits of having a My Health Record created for you is that you'll be able to see what information is being shared about you in a way that you weren't before. It will also mean that you don't need to go through the rigmarole with every visit to a doctor since they have complete access to your health summary. In theory, this should lead to better health outcomes since this should reduce the instances of adverse drug events. My Health Record can also house referral letters from doctors.

Pros of opting out

Data security is the big one. According to the 2017-18 Australian Digital Health Agency Annual Report, while "There have been no purposeful or malicious attacks compromising the integrity or security of the My Health Record system ... 42 data breaches (in 28 notifications) were reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner".

And it's not just unlawful access to information that people are worried about, they're also concerned about the abilities of insurers or employers gaining access to sensitive health information.

How to opt out of My Health Record

The government announced last week that you'll now be able to permanently delete your record even if it is automatically created for you. However, if you want some more time to mull over the decision or just don't want a record created for you, opting out is simple. Head over to the My Health Record website, and complete the online form. It only takes a minute or so. All you'll need is:

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

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