Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

My Health opt-out deadline extended after controversy

My Health opt-out deadline extended after controversy

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the extension on Twitter this afternoon, saying the government had "worked with the senate crossbench to extend the opt-out period for My Health Record".

The Australian Digital Health Agency said the opt-out helpline and website would be operating 24 hours, seven days a week until the deadline had passed. You can call the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) on 1800723471 if you think something is wrong.

Eleven data breaches occurred in just 11 weeks between July and September 13 this year, according to the OAIC's submission to a recent Senate Inquiry into the My Health Record.

Irene Gallagher, CEO of campaign group Being, commented: "My Health Record makes it too easy for potential abusers to access health records, or even change them, if the person is deemed to "lack capacity".

You can go online and set a Record Access Code to only give certain healthcare professionals access and you can also restrict access to certain documents by setting a Limited Document Access Code.

Victims of domestic violence would also be better protected, with abusive former partners banned from accessing their child's records.

This gives Australians almost seven more weeks to opt out of the controversial centralised digital health records system before a record is created for them automatically. The changes are awaiting the green light from parliament.

Proposed legislation will ensure your employer won't be able to ask to see your My Health Record and can't ask you to share information with them either.

Even the Australian Taxation office could access your health information with a court order.

"The government's implementation of the My Health Record has been a complete debacle from day one".

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It started as an opt-in scheme - the Coalition government changed it to an opt-out.

"The Morrison government has been dragged kicking and screaming into accepting an extension to the My Health Record opt-out period", she said.

"These do not constitute privacy or security breaches to the system", he said. A corrupt medical practitioner or health employee could hack the system by pretending to be a legitimate user. This happened because someone inside the system broke the law.

"It is unbelievable how disorganised this process is", she said.

Without the minister's intervention, about 17 million Australians would have been automatically enrolled in the e-health system if they did not opt out by Thursday.

Ben said he just wanted to wait until after legislation passed that would improve privacy and security for patients before opting in.

Nine.com.au has contacted the Minister Hunt's office and the Australian Digital Health Agency for comment. Otherwise it's up to your doctor to decide what records to put on your file. The government and doctors hope if the bulk of the population has one of these records it will become more useful. This could be risky if doctors rely on the record in an emergency situation.

"I'm really against my records being on the system and I am unable to opt out".

But Liberal senator Jane Hume said Australians have already had a "significant period" to opt-out of the initiative and will still be able to get rid of their record once the opt-out period lapses. "It can help prevent medication misadventures that see more than 230,000 people end up in hospital each year", he said.

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.

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