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My Health Record opt-out goes down just 10 days after launch

Users were unable to opt-out of creating a My Health Record account after Medicare services went down Thursday.

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Australian Digital Health Agency

Just 10 days into its life, the My Health Record opt-out system was looking particularly... unhealthy.

It didn't quite cark it, but Australians looking to opt out of the all-in-one digital record of personal health information that they probably didn't even sign up for in the first place were temporarily unable to do so.

The My Health Record opt-out system uses your Medicare number to identify who you are. If Medicare goes down, you're likely to have a problem. That was the case on Thursday. The Medicare system was briefly "unavailable," according to a tweet by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), affecting users' ability to opt out of the Record both online and over the phone.

Services were re-estabilished at 1:30pm.

In a statement to CNET, ADHA explained "the opt-out portal was temporarily unavailable today ... due to the Medicare system being unavailable. Access has now been restored. If people want to opt out of My Health Record, they can do so via the Help line or website. We thank people for their patience."

The agency did not provide a reason for the outage.

My Health Record is a digital record of patient's health information designed to make it easier for doctors and health care professionals to access health data. The theory is that it'll enable better health outcomes as medical professionals have more access to critical health histories. The ADHA says the "protection of patient information is critical, and the My Health Record system has strong safeguards in place to protect the health data." 

However, in the wake of data privacy scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica debacle, many are reticent to trust the system, worried that their personal health data may fall into the wrong hands. Highlighting the ever present threat is the fact that 1.5 million people in Singapore had their medical data stolen in an attack on July 20. 

Oh, and, who could forget the time that Australian Medicare details were being sold on the darknet for $30 in 2017?

The opt-out period will run until October 15, 2018. Users will also be able to cancel their record, if they don't opt out, after new records are created on November 13.