My Health Record: Government extends opt-out period after system issues
You now have until 31 January 2019 to opt-out of My Health Record.
With 15 November 2018 upon us, Australians had until Thursday night (Friday 3am AEDT to be exact according to the ABC) to opt-out of the much-maligned My Health Record. And we were doing so in droves – so much so that the My Health Record website started to experience *ahem* issues. I left it until the final hour and, as a result, was unable to use the web portal.
The My Health Record was also having its own issues, according to news.com.au, with Australians facing major delays. In response, the Government and the Senate agreed to extend the opt-out deadline from 15 November 2018 until 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
What's been happening with online health services?
The concept of an online database of our health information has been on the cards for the better part of the last decade, with the My Health Record saga in its current iteration coming to the fore in the last year and culminating in the big question of whether you're in or out. The main point of contention with the My Health Record debate centres around the idea of data security and whether you have faith in the Australian government's ability to protect your health data. And why wouldn't you have your concerns? Shaun Micallef recently pointed out that the My Health Record logo looks like a bunch of open folders with missing files ...
Hacking is one of the major concerns people have with allowing the government to store their personal health information because no matter how secure your system, there is always a hacker out there who is willing to try and crack it. And even IF the government's servers are impenetrable, there is the question of the security measures in place on the front line, for example in your local GP's office, former privacy commissioner Malcolm Crompton told the Guardian in July 2018.
One other major issue raised was both lawful and unlawful access to your medical records by law enforcement, which forced the government to issue a statement in July 2018 saying:
“The Australia Digital Health Agency has not and will not release any documents without a court/coronial or similar order.
No documents have been released in the last six years and none will be released in the future without a court order/coronial or similar order.”
One of the other major concerns has to do with privacy and whether your private medical data will be shared with third parties, such as insurance companies.
Still want to opt-out?
If you're thinking about opting out, don't leave it until the last minute by waiting until 31 January 2019. To opt-out, you're going to need to head over to the My Health Website and have your driver's licence, ImmiCard or passport handy, along with your Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) or Medicare card. Though maybe you should give the site a few days, it's been through a lot.
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