My Health Record Opt-Out Dates Announced by the Australian Government

Michael Gorton AM, Angela Liu

Australians who do not want their medical records stored on a national electronic database can opt-out of the scheme from July 16 to October 15 this year.

The My Health Record System 

Previously known as a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record ("PCEHR") or eHealth record, the My Health Record system is the Australian government's digital health record system.  It contains summaries of an individual's health information uploaded by healthcare providers.

Under the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth), patients registered with My Health Record can control the content of their record, and set controls on access to their record by health professionals.  If a patient does not want a report to be uploaded, the patient can request that report not be uploaded.

Transition to Opt-out System 

The My Health Record system currently operates on an opt-in basis which means that a person needs to register in order to get a My Health Record.  The Australian Government announced that it would instead move to an opt-out model due to a low uptake of the service since it was launched in 2012.

The My Health Records (National Application) Rule 2017 provides that an opt-out model will be implemented so that people no longer need to register, instead a My Health Record will be created for every eligible person unless they opt-out during a three months period.

Opt-out Period Announced  

The Australian Government has recently announced that opt-out period will begin from 16 July to 15 October 2018.  This means that individuals will only be able to opt-out between July 16 and October 15 this year, after which time a My Health Record will be automatically created for every Australian.

It is important to note that you can cancel your My Health Record at any time after the end of the opt-out period or to create one, if you previously opted out.

If you would like to learn more about the My Health Record System or the opt-out period, please contact Michael Gorton and Angela Liu from our Health Law team.

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