In case you missed it, the deadline for opting out of My Health Record (MHR), the new and highly controversial national digital health record system, has now been pushed back yet again to January 31, 2019. This news comes following the opt-out website’s continuous crashes following a massive influx of people signing in to opt-out at the last minute as well as a recent Senate agreement that a deadline postponement was a good idea.“The opt-out period for My Health Record will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it’s important to note that people can opt-out at any time” – Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on November 14th, 2018
This isn’t the first time the deadline has been postponed. Originally the deadline was October 15th, then pushed to what would have been November 15th, and now has been pushed back again to January 31st (though some think a year would be more appropriate).
Click here to opt-out of MHA or read on to learn more about what it is and why it’s proving to be so controversial.
What Is My Health Record
Though there’s a full government run-down of My Health Record available for your reading, in short MHR is essentially an online collection of your health information provided by you, your healthcare providers and Medicare. MHR makes your health information viewable securely online, from anywhere, at any time. It also makes it to where healthcare providers involved in your care can access important health information such as allergies, current medications, diagnosed medical conditions and more to better inform their diagnoses. If you choose to, you can set access controls to restrict who can and can’t see your records, along with some other important privacy features. Basically, whether or not you decide to opt-out of MHR or not, it’s a smart idea to get acquainted with the program and know the multitude of privacy options and other features that it offers.
There are some definite upsides to My Health Record. For one, you’ll have instant access to a very comprehensive, up-to-date record of your health history whenever you want it. When you share your records with a medical professional, it will give them a more detailed picture with which to make decisions, diagnoses and provide treatment. You can also request that certain information not be uploaded to My Health Record if there is something you would prefer not to be a part of your comprehensive record. To find more information about the pros of using My Health Record as a working adult, parent, person with a chronic disease and more, visit the government’s benefit breakdown page.
The fact that MHR is opt-out as opposed to opt-in has caused quite a bit of controversy, particularly as many criticise the government for not advertising this fact as loudly as you might expect. Opt-out makes it likely that many people (particularly Australians without great access to news/internet) will be automatically and unknowingly enrolled onto MHR before they are aware of the range of health practitioners who can access their information without their knowledge, posing a potential risk to privacy. Though MHR offers strict, customizable privacy controls, the consumer obviously must be aware of them to use them. MHR also threatens to make family disputes a bit more complicated, particularly in cases where an abusive ex-partner still has access to where the child goes for prescriptions and appointments. Read more on the general MHR cons here and more about family dispute threats here.
Now, it’s time for you to decide whether or not you want to opt-out of My Health Record… or it’s at least time to give this a good thought and solid research before January 31st, 2019. After that, you can cancel your MHR though it’s impossible to delete the record entirely. If there has ever been a time to do some reading and make an informed decision, that time is now.