Health record opt-out time extended to January as Government caves in

Once the opt-out period ends the government will begin creating records for 17 million Australians whether they want one or not

While Labor and the Greens had pushed for a 12-month extension, the move was rebuffed in the Senate with the majority supporting One Nation's amendment.

"To my knowledge, there is now no public disclosure of the precise security controls and technologies deployed for My Health Record, nor have audits been published or even their summaries", Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, tells The Daily Swig.

Opting out can be done by either accessing the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471.

Mr Hunt's office said the Australian Digital Health Agency had "no evidence that any of these matters led to unauthorised access to any individuals' health information". "Our health records are some of the most sensitive information we have, yet the privacy controls My Health Record offers to patients are dubious at best".

"This will give Federal Parliament the time it needs to pass extra protections and safeguards".

Ben said he had tried opting out on the website first and was successful completing the process for his own record and one of his sons.

"There has never been a reported security breach of the system", Hunt said.

Insurers and health insurers have been arguing they should get access to the record. "It can help prevent medication misadventures that see more than 230,000 people end up in hospital each year", he said.

The legislation has already passed in the House of Representatives, but must go back to the lower house once the amended bill passes in the Senate. You can ask them to upload a Shared Health Summary that contains key information like health history, allergies, medications and family history.

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Mr Hunt has also promised a review to consider whether it is appropriate that parents have default access to the records of children aged 14 to 17, after the founder of a free school clinic said it was "too risky" to operate under the My Health Record system.

It came after a number of Labor and crossbench members voiced concerns about both the unresolved privacy and security issues around the system, and the difficulties faced by users from early in the week in opting out.

There are concerns that domestic violence perpetrators may be able to use their access to their children's My Health Record to track down their partners who may be in hiding and fear for their safety.

The promised amendments would also specify that the Australian Digital Health Agency can not delegate access to patient records to other entities; that health insurers can not access records; and that employers may not use them to discriminate against workers.

But after the Senate vote the health minister, Greg Hunt, announced the government would extend the opt-out period to 31 January.

People that do opt-in are able to remove themselves from the program and permanently delete their records at any time.

On Wednesday the Senate narrowly rejected Labor's push to extend the opt-out period by 12 months but passed an amendment for an 11-week extension after a crossbench compromise was accepted by the government. Tech experts from Melbourne University showed in 2016 how easy it was to re-identify Medicare data and they say it is nearly impossible to fully de-identify health data.

Until these changes pass the parliament, even if you later decide to cancel your My Health Record it will not be removed from the system.

THE deadline is looming for those who want to opt out of the My Health Record scheme.

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