You may be concerned about all your medical records being placed in the National Electronic Health Records (NEHR). After much consideration, you’ve decided to opt out of the NEHR.
What should you be doing next?
Here’s everything that you need to know about opting out of the NEHR.
Why do I need to opt out of the NEHR?
Once you have any medical records that are in any of the NEHR’s participating institutions, your data will be uploaded to the NEHR.
Even if you are a foreigner, your data will still be uploaded.
This is regardless of whether you are:
1. On an employment or long-term visit pass
2. A transient visitor
3. In Singapore for medical tourism
As such, you will need to opt out of the NEHR as you’re automatically included inside the system.
How do I opt out of the NEHR?
If you wish to opt out of the NEHR, here’s a step by step guide:
#1 Obtain and submit the opt out forms
You will first need to obtain the opt out form. You can go to a few healthcare institutions to obtain the form.
Here are the departments that you’ll need to go to obtain the form:
|Hospital / Polyclinic||Department(s) Facilitating NEHR Opt Out|
|NHG Polyclinics |
National University Polyclinics
|Operations Team Patient Service Associates|
|SingHealth Polyclinics||Operations Team|
|Changi General Hospital |
|Medical Records Office|
|KKH||Department of Document Management Services|
|Ng Teng Fong General Hospital||Service Operations Team|
Depending on the hospital or polyclinic that you go to, there is a different department that you’ll need to approach.
You can approach the front desk of the hospital or polyclinic to find directions to the department.
#2 Receive counselling
When you wish to opt out of the NEHR, you will be counselled on the implications.
If you still wish to opt out despite the counselling, the healthcare institution will process this request for you.
What are the two ways of opting out of the NEHR?
There are 2 ways that you can opt out of the NEHR:
#1 Partial opt out
In a partial opt out, your records will still be uploaded to the NEHR.
However, no one will be able to access your records.
If any healthcare professional tries to access your record, they will be locked out.
It is recommended that you use this option. This ensures that there will be no data gap in your records.
Should you choose to opt in again in the future, all of your records will still be intact.
#2 Full opt out
If you choose the full opt out option, any records after the time that you’ve opted out will not be uploaded to the NEHR.
You will need to sign an acknowledgement form that:
1. You acknowledge the consequences of having an incomplete record
2. You are aware that the any records during your opt out period will not be included in the NEHR, should you choose the opt back in
The full opt out option will leave a huge data gap in your records. No one will be able to access any of your records during your opt out period.
As such, I would recommend that you seriously consider this consequence. Healthcare data can be used to provide the optimal care for you. Without these data, healthcare professionals will have a harder time to decide on the best treatment for you.
Should I be opting out of the NEHR?
If you choose to opt out of the NEHR, you will be missing out on the benefits of the NEHR.
1. Transferring your healthcare data across different healthcare providers
2. Reducing the need for the same tests having to be done on you
3. Helping medical professionals make more informed decisions on the best treatment for you
If you opt out of the NEHR, there may also be some issues with receiving your COVID-19 swab test results.
One of the reasons why you wish to opt out of the NEHR could be due to the fear of insurance companies accessing your health records.
However, MOH and iHIS have implemented many measures to ensure that your data is only used for medical purposes only!
The use of NEHR could potentially be life-saving, especially in an emergency.
Can I opt back into the NEHR?
If you have opted out of the NEHR, but wish to opt back in, it is possible to do so!
Moreover, there is no expiry date to opt back in. This means that you are able to opt back into the NEHR at any time.
According to IHiS, 416 patients have opted out of the NEHR as of July 2019. Since 2011, 31 people have decided to opt back into the NEHR.
The process of opting in is similar to opting out. You will need to obtain the opt in form from a healthcare institution.
You do not need to go back to the healthcare institution that you previously applied to opt out from the NEHR.
It is possible to opt out of the NEHR, especially if you are concerned over data privacy and the database’s security.
However, you may be put at a disadvantage as healthcare professionals will not be able to access your records.
Without your records, they may not be able to find the optimal treatment for your condition.
As such, I would recommend you to consider the consequences of opting out of the NEHR first, before you decide to do so!
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