Tuesday, 17 July 2018 11:25

My Health Record stats only by end of year, says agency

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Australians will know exactly how many among them have chosen to opt out of the My Health Record system only by the end of the year, a spokesperson from the Australian Digital Health Agency says.

In response to a query from iTWire as to the extent of opt-outs on Monday, the first day of a three-month period for Australians to do so, the spokesperson said the ADHA had no target as to how many Australians would have a record.

"Following the end of the three-month opt-out window, there will be a 30-day reconciliation period for the processing of paper forms arriving by mail," the spokesperson said.

"Records will then be created for Australians who have not opted out of having a My Health Record. These records must be created by the end of 2018 and further statistics will be available then."

The first day of opting out, Monday, did not prove to be a walk in the park for the ADHA, with the website not working as it was supposed to, and people who called up the help-line having to spend a considerable amount of time before they got through to an operator.

Asked about the cases of numerous people who have said that they were unable to use the online system to opt out as it failed to function, the spokesperson did not offer a direct answer, but said: "There was great interest in My Health Record on Monday, 16 July."

The ADHA had anticipated higher call volumes on Monday and had more staff on standby to respond to inquiries, the spokesman said. This, however, flew in the face of this writer's experience of having to wait on hold for 45 minutes after the online system failed to work.

"If consumers were not about to get through today, they can opt out over the next three months till 15 October," the spokesperson added.

Finally, when asked about the use of Google's reCAPTCHA widget to verify whether a user was a robot or not, the spokesperson said: "No personal or health information is provided through the Google tool, therefore it is not covered by our legislation."

There have been security concerns expressed about the use of the widget.

Those who wish to opt out can go here.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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