November 15 was the deadline to opt-put of My Health Record, but a last minute Senate vote has succeeded in extending the deadline until January 31, 2019.
Update: 14:55pm: Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted a confirmation of the extension.
Today the Government worked with the Senate crossbench to extend the opt-out period for #MyHealthRecord.
The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it’s important to note that people can opt-out at any time.
— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) November 14, 2018
The successful Senate vote came after the Senate passed a motion earlier this week to extend the opt-out period "until the legislation and any amendments are passed, outstanding privacy and security issues are addressed and public confidence in this important reform is restored."
The bill won't be passed until 26 November when the House of Representatives sits, but for all intents and purposes the extension is now law.
My Health Record has been shrouded in controversy since it was announced due to privacy concerns. An earlier inquiry from the Labor party asked for a 12-month extensions was rejected in a 32:30 vote and just last week the My Health Record director of privacy resigned.
At the time of writing there are no up-to-date numbers on how many Australians have opted out of the system. Interestingly, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) revealed to the Senate on October 24 that an estimated 1,147,000 Australians had opted out. However, the agency's minister Greg Hunt would not provide an updated number last week.
As for those who are trying to opt out ahead of the November 15 deadline, people seem to be experiencing increased issues both online and over the phone.
Hearing reports of people having trouble opting out of #MyHealthRecord today as the website keeps crashing and the phones have a recorded message that they are too busy.
Government needs to extend the opt out period until parliament votes on amendments and public better informed
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) November 14, 2018
— Daniel Phipps (@danielphippsaus) November 14, 2018
@MyHealthRec 4 times I've filled out your opt out form and got right to the end b4 your site crashes. Directs me to call and your number disconnects!!! Seriously. This is why I want to opt out. Total incompetence. #MyHealthRecord
— Chris Roberts (@CRoberts11_11) November 14, 2018
@MyHealthRec you can’t even be trusted to purchase enough bandwidth for your site, what makes you trustworthy to hold our medical records? Tried to opt out several times without success. #myhealthrecord pic.twitter.com/0WkhxPNRVF
— Kerim ???????? (@kezLFC96) November 14, 2018
The good news is that you don't need to panic about making the deadline by tomorrow. And maybe the government can invest in some more bandwidth in the meantime.
Considering the consistent privacy issues that have overhung My Health Record, you may still want to opt out as soon as possible. You can do so by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471.
Last week marked the start of a three-month period in which Australians can opt out of the My Health Record scheme before having an automatically generated electronic health record.
But much of the concern about My Health Records centres around privacy. So what is driving these concerns, and what might a My Health Records data breach look like?