Legislative changes have been made to the My Health Records Act 2012 which allow the system to be operated on an opt-out basis.
These changes took effect on 27 November 2015.
What has changed?
Since it began in 2012, the My Health Record system has operated on an opt-in basis for individuals. This means that if individuals want a My Health Record, they need to apply to the My Health Record System Operator.
The Minister now has authority to operate the system on an opt-out basis – first through trials. With the agreement of Australian health ministers, the Minister has initiated trials through the My Health Records (Opt-out Trials) Rule 2016 which took effect on 9 February 2016.
The Minister also has authority to implement opt-out nationally but only if the opt-out trials provide evidence demonstrating the value of an opt-out system and with the agreement of the Australian Government.
What is an opt-out system?
In an opt-out system, individuals are automatically registered for a My Health Record without the need to apply. Individuals can choose to opt-out if they don’t want a My Health Record. In that case a My Health Record will not be created.
If an individual does not opt-out, they will be able to manage the information in their My Health Record by:
- setting access controls restricting access to their My Health Record entirely or restricting access to certain information in their My Health Record;
- requesting that their healthcare provider not upload certain information or documents to their My Health Record, in which case the healthcare provider must not upload that information or those documents;
- requesting that their Medicare data not be included in their My Health Record, in which case Medicare will not make the data available to the System Operator;
- monitoring activity in their My Health Record using the audit log or via electronic messages alerting them that someone has accessed their My Health Record;
- removing documents from their My Health Record;
- making a complaint if they consider there has been a breach of privacy; and
- cancelling their My Health Record.
Where are these trials being conducted?
Information about the locations of the trials is available on I have received a letter page.
Why has this change been made?
The change implements a Government decision to conduct trials. Further information is available I have received a letter page.