Business

Aussies know about Health Record opt-out

Nearly six million Australians already have their own My Health Record, ahead of a three-month opt-out period from mid-July.

The man overseeing the agency in charge of the new personal electronic health record is confident Australians know they can opt-out.

Nearly six million already have their own My Health Record.

But Australian Digital Health Agency chief Tim Kelsey insists patients can still cancel theirs even when a three-month opt-out period, from July 16 to October 15, wraps up.

And despite suggestions to the contrary there will be a paid advertising campaign to get the message out about saying 'no' to the record.

A Senate committee on Tuesday was told in order for accounts to be padded out with details of your clinical past you need to activate it yourself or it will be done the first time you see a doctor or other clinician.

Mr Kelsey said once your account is activated two year's worth of data will start to be uploaded.

"Now at any point the recipient of the record or the health consumer can switch off that feed," he told senators in Canberra, confirming the information will be retrospectively wiped.

Mr Kelsey said there will be paid TV ads, especially in indigenous communities, and local radio and newspaper advertising about the record.

There will also be information in GP practices, Australia Post outlets and chemists.

"I'm confident that we've done everything we can to ensure every Australian has the opportunity to learn about the My Health Record and their rights to opt-out," Mr Kelsey said.

It's expected the education campaign will cost more than $27 million.

Department officials also confirmed third parties will be able to access data for medical research purposes, but that won't include insurance companies.

Drug companies could have access if they are seeking to research a life-saving new medicine.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare will be the custodian of the information.

But Mr Kelsey insisted patients can decide what data they want made available.

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