Starting today, you can choose to opt-out of My Health Record, the government’s online medical record system, if you’ve got concerns about your health data being stored in such a way.
The system was set up to allow doctors and patients to upload information like prescriptions, allergies, medical summaries, and other health records that can be accessed by medical professionals depending on the user’s preferences.
“Patients control access to the record, so they can switch off their entire record and make it only available using a pin code, or use that process with individual documents,” Dr Steve Hambleton of the Australian Digital Health Agency told ABC News.
While the government says patient information will be safe, cybersecurity experts warn that no online system is completely secure. You’ve got three months to make the account changes if you don’t like the idea of your health records being kept online, which is definitely a fair concern to have. Only a few weeks ago, online appointment booking app, HealthEngine, was revealed to be selling patient data to third parties, including law firms.
Hambleton has stressed that selling My Health Record data in the same way is “absolutely prohibited” on the platform. It’s worth noting, however, that some third-party apps will have access to the records, but in a “view-only” capacity.
Security concerns aside, Hambleton believes the platform will reduce the number of patients who end up in hospital due to medication errors. It’s also argued that keeping comprehensive medical records online for those with complex diseases would benefit them greatly.
At the end of the day, what you do is going to depend on your health status and feelings towards cybersecurity. You’ve got three months to think about it, but keep in mind that if you don’t opt-out, you’ll be automatically given a My Health Record. You can access yours here.