Minister defends health data security

He says people should stick with the My Health Record system

Australia's electronic health record system has military-grade security and people should stick with it, says Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

Greg Hunt

Almost six million people have signed up for a My Health Record — a digital medical history — over its six years of operations.

But there are fresh concerns of possible cyber-security threats and privacy breaches.

The government has opened a three-month opt-out window, ending on 15 October, for people who do not want a record created for them.

After this date, an e-health record will be created for every Australia by default.

A number of people reported on Monday not being able to log in or get through to a hotline to opt out of the scheme, but the problems were being ironed out.

Mr Hunt (pictured) said world-leading security had meant there had been no breaches of the system over the past six years.

"It is not just bank-level security but the advice from the Digital Health Agency is that it has been defence-tested," Mr Hunt said.

"They have a permanent cyber security network. It's arguably the world's leading and most secure medical information system at any national level."

As well, every Australian personally controlled what documents were on the system and who had access to them.

Lobby group Digital Rights Watch has expressed concerns about the security of My Health Record, and is urging everyone to opt out.

The Digital Health Agency said patients could switch off their entire record and make it only available using a pin code, or use that process with individual documents.