Trials of an 'opt out' approach to signups for the national eHealth record will be held in far north Queensland and in the Nepean Blue Mountains region in NSW, health minister Sussan Ley has revealed.
Some 2.5 million Australians have signed up for the eHealth records so far. The Coalition government commissioned a review of the system, currently known as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), shortly after it came to power.
Among the recommendations of the review that the government is seeking to implement through a bill introduced in September and currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry are a change of name from PCEHR to 'My Health Record' and provisions that will allow a potential shift to an opt-out model.
In addition to trialling an opt-out approach, the Department of Health is commissioning trials that will test innovative approaches to opt-in signups.
In total, the trials are expected to cost $26.4 million in 2015-16 and $15.5 million 2016-17.
"One of the great criticisms of Labor's model that was that it could not be used unless a patient signed up, rather than an all-inclusive system that simply gives those consumers who do not want their medical history made available the option to opt-out," Ley said in remarks prepared for a National Press Club address today.
"Therefore, in order to address this issue, I can announce today that all-inclusive trials of the Government's new My Health Record will commence in early 2016 for around 1 million Australians," the minister said.