With debate about privacy concerns surrounding My Health Records continuing to rage, the Senate today voted to extend the deadline for Australians to opt-out to January 31.
The opt-out window was due to close at 3am Friday, which reportedly lead to significant delays on the dedicated phone line and errors on the website this morning, as people rushed to register their choice.
Roughly 1.147 million have so far withdrawn from the scheme, while 300,000 have signed up.
So why have people decided not to take part?
Let’s take a look.
What is My Health Record?
A My Health Record is an online summary of your health information that can be accessed anywhere, anytime by you and your healthcare providers.
It stores information, such as allergies, PBS medicines you are taking, medical conditions you have been diagnosed with and pathology test results like blood tests.
Supporters argue it’s a sorely needed feature that will help plug gaps in a fragmented health care system, and therefore improve patient care and even save lives.
My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information. This year, you will get a #MyHealthRecord, unless you opt out by 15 November 2018. Learn more: https://t.co/pbroNYTNkV pic.twitter.com/twK3RH5Hmc
— My Health Record (@MyHealthRec) October 15, 2018
President of the Australian Medical Association, Tony Bartone, is among those in favour of My Heath Record: “It will assist in reducing unnecessary or duplicate tests, provide a full PBS medication history (thus helping avoid medication errors) and be of significant aid to doctors working in emergency situations,” he told The Guardian.
The scheme has actually been operating for six years on an opt-in basis – because of this, six million people currently have a My Health Record. But on January 31, that changes: a record will be created, by default, for every Australian who has not yet registered, unless they choose otherwise.