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01 Feb 2019

Australians can choose to have or cancel a My Health Record at any point in their life, according to new laws that came into place towards the end of January.

The laws aim to strengthen the privacy and security protections within My Health Record. A function has been activated in the My Health Record system that allows a person to permanently delete their record at any time, including any backups.

All records that have previously been cancelled will also be permanently deleted from the system.

If a person changes their mind, they can choose to register for a record to enjoy the benefits of controlling their health information securely in one place to support their health and care.

My Health Record is an online summary of a person’s key health information. It allows them to share and control their health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers, from anywhere at any time.

Key facts and figures distributed by the Federal Health Department include:

  • 6.45 million Australians currently have a My Health Record;
  • Since July 2018, almost half a million Australians have decided not to wait for a My Health Record to be created for them, and have chosen to have a record created for them;
  • 82 per cent of general practices are now connected to My Health Record;
  • 84 per cent of community pharmacies are now connected to My Health Record. The increase in pharmacy connections has tripled in the past six months;
  • 75 per cent of public hospitals are now connected to My Health Record.

New laws passed by Parliament last year strengthen the legislation prohibiting insurers and employers to access or use My Health Record information, or to ask a person to disclose the information, for insurance or employment purposes under any circumstance.

The new laws also legislate the Australian Digital Health Agency’s existing policy around disclosure to law enforcement agencies – law enforcement agencies cannot access a person’s My Health Record without a warrant or court order.

“Having a My Health Record places the control of a person’s healthcare directly into their hands,” said Professor Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Advisor for the Australian Digital Health Agency.

"After 31 January 2019, a My Health Record will be created for everyone who has not opted out of the system.

“However, January 31 is not a cut-off date for Australians to continue to have a choice about using My Health Record to manage their health and care.

“The new permanent delete functionality means Australians will always have the choice not to have a record and they can remove all of their data from the My Health Record system. At any time in their lives, they can delete their record — and no copy will be kept.”


Published: 01 Feb 2019