This year, every Australian will get a My Health Record. However, if you decide you don’t want a record, you can tell us during a three-month period from 16 July to 15 October 2018.
Why would you consider opting-out of this new national healthcare records database? Your healthcare records are probably the most sensitive information about you which exists. If you think protecting your privacy is difficult now, consider how your circumstances may change in light of whatever extremely personal information may find its way onto your MyHealthRecord.
This means highly sensitive data concerning your overall state of health (any medications, illnesses, conditions, disorders, hospital admissions, surgeries, pregnancies, et cetera). Anything which could potentially be used by a healthcare insurance provider (or an employer) to discriminate against or exploit you will likely be on your record eventually. With the default settings, this data will be exposed to anyone who requests it.
Maybe you're in good health and feel like you have nothing to hide? Remember, things change. Over our lifetimes many of us can and will develop conditions, or be diagnosed with disorders. While we may be unhappy constantly explaining things to different healthcare service providers, would you be happier having the convenience of not having to do that exchanged for having your complete healthcare services footprint exposed online?
In future, you may have genetic sequencing done. Perhaps you may have an unplanned hospital admission. If you stay in MyHealthRecord using default settings, this information could be exposed to anyone who cares to ask about you, which could result in unforeseen consequences.
You don’t have to opt-out completely - you can change MyHeathRecord’s security settings to something more appropriate (if you believe this sort of service can ever be totally secure). Or if you develop a reason to require MyHealthRecord services, you can always opt back in at a future date.
We encourage everyone to manage their privacy, without advocating anyone take action purely out of fear - just be aware of potential risks, then do what you believe the best thing is for yourself.