Over 1.1 million Australians have ‘opted out’ of having their medical records kept on the My Health Record database.
The window to opt out of the database closes on November 15, on which date everyone with a medicare card that hasn’t opted out will automatically have a My Health Record generated, despite a senate inquiry recommending residents be given another 12 months to decide amidst calls for a privacy and security review.
The My Health Record system was created as a centralised online summary of a person’s health records.
While individuals can control and monitor who is accessing their record, the system has polarised the community, with many people suggesting the controls don’t go far enough.
There have also been major concerns coming out of the that future employers might be able to access applicants health records.
Likely Wentworth byelection winner Kerryn Phelps, a vocal critic of the initiative and former Australia Medical Association president has vowed to use her position on the crossbench to pressure a minority Morrison government on the issue.
Dr Phelps told Fairfax Media the secondary use or sale of patient data remained unresolved despite the government having announced changes to prevent law enforcement from accessing medical records without a court order and ensure that records could be permanently deleted upon request.
"The more you dig into the creation and use of these databases and the potential for misuse, the more concerning it becomes," she said.
The senate committee, which was largely made up of non-government senators also recommended strengthening the rules to prevent data being used for commercial purposes, limiting the information available to government departments for data-matching.
The also recommended that the extra 12 months be used to better inform the public about the benefits and risks of the system, as well as its privacy functions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has already rejected the call for a 12 month extension, stating that it would only “delay the benefits to patients.”
Labor’s health spokesperson Catherine King called the implementation a “trainwreck”, and called for the roll-out to be immediately suspended “until we can fix all the problems and restore public trust in this important reform.”