More than 2.5 million Australians have opted out of My Health Record

The figure is almost bang-on with 10 percent expectations the Health Minister has previously expressed.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has finally updated the number of Australians that have chosen to not use the nation's My Health Record system, telling Senate Estimates on Wednesday the figure now stood at a touch over 2.5 million.

"90 percent of Australian Medicare users have not opted out," Deputy Secretary of Health Systems Policy and Primary Care at the Department of Health Caroline Edwards said.

Using what ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey labelled a conservative metric, the number of Medicare card users in Australia, and potentially total My Health Record users, at January 31 was just under 25.5 million.

The only prior update on how the number of opt-outs was tracking was in October when ADHA said 1.1 million people had opted out.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health disclosed that by mid-November, almost 300,000 Australians had removed themselves from the My Health Record system and cancelled their existing electronic medical record.

Many people who wanted to opt out found that they could not, since a record was already created for them.

Kelsey added the 2.5 million number included Australians that had cancelled their My Health Record.

In July, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government was expecting a My Health Record opt-out rate of 10 percent.

The Department of Health also said this week the number of complaints concerning My Health Record to be expected once all Australians are given a record, the department said the ADHA took its existing number and multiplied it by five.

Thus ADHA is expecting 275 complaints through its feedback form, 60 named officer complaints, 950 general complaints, and 275 technical complaints. General complaints and complaints to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) are expected to be handled within 14 days; a complaint to the Ombudsman is expected within two weeks of transfer; and all other complaints are typically handled within 20 business days, the Department of Health said.

Facing Senate Estimates on Tuesday,  Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the OAIC will soon be releasing "helpful" information on My Health Record.

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