My Health Record: Deadline To Opt-Out Looms
Millions of Australians will soon have an electronic health record created for them, if they haven't already got one or told the government they don't want it.
That comes as the formal "opt-out" period for the My Health Record system ends on Thursday.
As the deadline looms, Health Minister Greg Hunt has been eager to remind Australians they can delete their record at any time.
"Any Australian can opt in or opt out at any point in their life. It's completely their choice," he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.
He also guaranteed no person's My Health Record data would ever be wrongfully exposed.
"We listened to the community and we worked on adding safeguards and protections," he said.
The My Health Record "opt-out" period was to end in November, but was extended to allow time for stronger privacy measures for the system to pass parliament.
Under the changes, people found guilty of improper use of My Health Record will face up to five years' jail, instead of two, and the maximum fine has more than doubled to $315,000.
Victims of domestic violence will be better protected, with abusive former partners banned from accessing their children's records.
Private health insurers will be kept further from the system's data, being unable to access it even when it has been de-identified.
The refinements were enough to convince the Australian Medical Association to back the system, after campaigning for better protections.