Kicking off in July last year, the opt-out deadline was repeatedly pushed back amidst public backlash and security concerns around the data system, before the Senate settled on 31 January as the final date.
This means that all Australians that have not opted out will now have a record automatically created for them.
Individuals are still able to delete their My Health Record if they missed the opt-out window.
The My Health Record will create a digital repository with important medical information, such as allergies, medical conditions, blood tests, and medications being taken, that can be accessed by relevant healthcare professionals.
Despite months of ironing out issues surrounding the controversial measure – such as enabling the permanent deletion of a record and strengthening provisions for those in domestic violence situations – there is still widespread concern around government’s digital health initiative.
Senior regional marketing manager at security intelligence company LogRhythm, Joanne Wong, said the system carries with it inherent risks.
“As the period for Australians to opt out of the My Health Record draws near, we would hope that the Federal Government’s infrastructure is able to meet the ongoing challenge of protecting data records of millions of citizens against unlawful access,” she said.
“At the same time, the push to lower healthcare costs through digitisation of healthcare records and the increased electronic sharing of healthcare records only increases the potential for confidential information to be accessed inappropriately.”
CTO at CQR Consulting, Phil Kernick, also shared such concerns.
“Your health data is yours and you should be in control of how it’s used,” he said.
“Spending billions to solve minor or non-existent problems like how to treat someone during an emergency medical procedure, or gaining access to historical information when changing doctors makes no sense.
“Once data is exposed it can’t be put back in the box and the idea that personal information won’t be compromised, or misused, simply because of legislation or monetary fines is fanciful at best.”
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) last publicly updated the number of those who have opted out of the system in October last year, when the figure was at 1.147 million.
It is expected this number is now significantly higher.
The ADHA does however widely circulate statistics on how many people have created a My Health Record, which is now 6.45 million people.
It is also reported that 15,315 healthcare providers are now already using the system.