My Health Record opt-outs approach one million

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Almost one million Australians have opted out of the My Health Record according to the Australian Digital Health Agency.

In response to questions during a Senate committee hearing, the agency said 900,000 Australians had opted out of the My Health Record since the official opt-out period began in July.

People have until mid-November to opt out of the record that provides an online summary of a person's key health information.

The government extended the opt-out period by one month, from October to November, in response to a range of issues, including concerns over privacy.

Under the changes, police and government agencies will require a court order to access patient data without their consent, and people will be able to withdraw from My Health Record after the opt-out period ends and all information will be deleted. 

Under the original plan, some basic information about all records would have been kept for up to 130 years, even if a patient requested its deletion.

According to shadow health minister Catherine King, the number of people opting out is likely to rise to well over one million. 

"The Government must now heed Labor’s call to suspend the opt-out rollout until all remaining security and privacy concerns are addressed and public confidence in this important reform is restored," said Ms King.

"Labor supports a national digital health record – which is why we created one when we were last in Government.

"But the Government’s failure to explain its shift from an opt-in model to an opt-out model has fuelled suspicion and scepticism.

"The ADHA also said while public awareness of the program is high, nearly half (41 per cent) still don’t know a record will be created for them at the end of the opt-out period.

This shows the Government still has considerable work to do to educate and inform the public. It should begin by delivering on its promise to launch a new comprehensive information campaign."