My Health opt-out deadline extended after controversy

Shadow health spokesperson Catherine King

There were expectations the final opt-out figure would more than double to 10 per cent.

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.

Australians will have more time to opt out of the controversial My Health Record system after an extension was approved.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has so far rejected calls to extend the opt-out period beyond November 15. A corrupt medical practitioner or health employee could hack the system by pretending to be a legitimate user.

For those unsure of what to do, here are some things to consider. Six million already have the record and a further 300,000 opted in the past four months.

Around 17 million people were expected to be automatically enrolled.

You can also ask them not to upload sensitive data such as information on sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, mental illness or cosmetic surgery.

"There is widespread confusion surrounding the rollout of My Health Record", Phelps said on Wednesday morning.

Some doctors don't seem to have the capacity to add information to My Health Record?

Insurers and health insurers have been arguing they should get access to the record.

The privacy commissioner recommends checking regularly for unexpected or unauthorised access.

The Australian Digital Health Agency claimed it was "incorrect" that the website was down, saying both the site and the phone lines were "operational".

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There will be regular security audits of My Health Record but any documents downloaded or created by a doctor could also be stored on their local IT system and the security of this will depend on their system.

"From a technical point of view, there are access controls in place, however, the data itself, at this stage, is in plain format, it is not encrypted", he said.

You still have time to opt out, should you wish.

"People have not been given all the information they need on which to make an informed decision".

Even when data is de-identified, there's still a chance you could be linked to the record.

Yes, at the moment people's data can be taken for secondary use purposes, such as research.

The online system is failing to process requests to opt out, directing visitors to call the My Health Record hotline, only to put them on hold for 45 minutes at a time before those calls ultimately drop 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. There is legislation under review that would increase these penalties to five years jail and a fine of $315,000. This could be unsafe if doctors rely on the record in an emergency situation. It should also prevent unnecessary duplication of blood and other tests.

Under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (the Act), specifically subsection 14 (2), healthcare providers can not use a healthcare identifier for employment and insurance purposes, and as a effect can not access an individual's MHR for such purposes.

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

The system recently went into meltdown after Aussies rushed to opt-out. Forms will be available in 2385 rural and remote Australia Post outlets, through 146 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and in 136 prisons.

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