Why experts say you should opt out of My Health Record

I’m not planning to opt out of My Health Record before the deadline of January 31.

Or at least, I wasn’t.

It seems like a good idea, in theory. All of our medical files will be digitised and linked, making it easier to get continuity of care between health providers. You can visit your GP for a bad back, and when they refer you to a physio, they can then access your centralised health records to build a better, richer picture of your whole health.


Sounds like a good idea… in theory.

As it stands, about six million people already have records and about 1.15 million have decided to opt out of MHR.

Around 300,000 have opted in and about 17 million will be automatically enrolled once the deadline for opting out passes – which is January 31, 2019.

As I said, I wasn’t planning on opting out.

Then I learnt that Terry Barnes, a public policy consultant whose former career in government included senior federal ministerial advisory roles, is urging people to do so.

“As a former senior adviser to Federal health ministers, I have opted out and believe you should too,” he says.

“Here’s why; you can’t trust your most personal information to a system that’s very hackable, MHR gives you no control over what people see and who sees it, and it allows the taxman and other bureaucrats to stick their noses into your most private of private affairs: what you visit the doctor for, and your medical history.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt says the scheme is “arguably the safest system in the world”, and this claim seems to be backed up, as anyone who wants to permanently delete their My Health Record can do so at any time. The record will then be deleted forever, and no archived copy or back up will be kept. Any deleted information won’t be able to be recovered, so once that decision is made – it’s final.

It’s a quandary. Trust our government with our most sensitive data, in the hope that it will make our lives easier, more streamlined and ideally, healthier?

Or assume the worst and opt out?

No pressure, but: we have around 24 hours left to decide.

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