The federal opposition has called for an extension of the My Health Record opt-out window after “significant and growing concern” from the community, but says it supports the project in-principle.
Shadow minister for health Catherine King today appealed to the government to extend the three-month period that began last week to give individuals adequate time to “make an informed choice”.
“There has been significant and growing community concern about the My Health Record since the beginning of the op-out period on 16 July,” she said.
“The government has failed to effectively communicate with the public about what the My Health Record is and the potential benefits it could bring.
“It has also failed to explain to people how their rights will be respected and their privacy protected.”
It follows as many as 20,000 Australians withdrawing their consent from the scheme on the first day of the opt-out period amid a technical issue that saw many wait hours to speak with a call centre operator.
She said the government's approach to addressing shifting the e-health record from opt-in to opt-out to address poor adoption rates had “fuelled suspicion and scepticism” among Australians.
It has also “seriously undermined public trust” in the My Health Record scheme, which Labor supported while in government although on an opt-in basis.
King has now written to Health minister Greg Hunt recommending a new information campaign to educate individuals about the e-health record.
Consumer communication and stakeholder engagement for the rollout of the opt-out My Health Record has been allocated $114 million by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Numerous privacy and IT security experts, as well as the former Digital Transformation Office chief Paul Shelter, have come out in opposition to the personal electronic health record in its current form.