Big decision you need to make today
DEADLINES are scary, and this one has most of Australia worried.
With just one day left to opt out of the controversial $2 billion My Health Record system, many are deciding to do so because of their ongoing concerns or questions not being addressed.
Tens of thousands of people have already rushed to opt out in the last two weeks, many of them worried about security and privacy.
The Australian community has been largely divided in its opinion, with privacy experts warning against it, data specialists urging us to join and medical professionals sitting in either camp.
After January 31, up to 17 million Australians who haven't opted out will automatically have a My Health Record created.
The latest data in October showed more than 1.1 million people had opted out.
About 6.45 million Aussies now have a record.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has stressed that people can join or leave the system at any time, despite the formal period ending today.
The deadline for opting out was pushed back from November 15 to give time for stronger privacy measures to pass parliament.
At the outset your record includes basic government-related medical information linked to you such as prescriptions that have been dispensed and consultations or tests connected to Medicare.
While there have been concerns test results would appear or conditions you don't want shared among health professionals - your dentist knowing about your sexual health status, for example - they would need to be uploaded once your record is created.
People can also choose their privacy settings and tailor what's added to the system.
But with stories of incorrect details being entered, and concerns from doctors the system could lead to a "malpractice nightmare", a lot of Aussies aren't taking a chance.
Many practices are still using outdated record keeping methods or software, with the task of uploading millions of new records putting further pressure on all aspects of the healthcare system.
Guidelines stipulate doctors don't have to upload all information and that this can be done at their discretion and in discussion with a patient.
They're also being advised by the Australian Medical Association to treat records with the same level of scrutiny as they usually would.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King has slammed the Government for failing to address lingering security and privacy concerns, saying Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Hunt had done nothing to reassure patients or clinicians.
"We had also hoped the Government would have used the two-and-half-month extension to address other outstanding privacy issues - particularly around minors, default settings and automatic uploads," she said.
"But they have failed to do so. We maintain there should have been a longer extension of the opt-out period to ensure these issues were sorted out."
The Labor Party is calling for an independent privacy commissioner review of the system.
"The government's implementation of the My Health Record has been a complete debacle from day one," Ms King said.
One of the biggest advocates for the system is Michelle Gallaher, managing director of The Social Science and leader of the MediaConsent Medical project which asks people to give permission for their data to be used in health research.
Ms Gallaher would like Australians to go as far as giving permission for their internet search data, social media status updates or fitness tracker information to be used by certain medical institutions for research.
"We absolutely need (My Health Record) because this is what's going to save lives," she said.
"A lot of people haven't bothered to understand it. The world is going digital whether we like it or not.
"The more information we know about someone, the safer they are. People are really bad at assessing risk - we're scared of sharks when they should be scared of driving on wet roads - but there's so many more things to be worried about than this."
Ms Gallaher said not having important health information was a life or death situation but having your data breached generally wasn't.
Mr Hunt's office did not provide a response to news.com.au's request for comment.