PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY – PATIENT INFORMATION

 

Introduction

This privacy policy is to provide information to you, our patient, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within our practice, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties. This policy to protect patient privacy in compliance with the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000.

Why and when your consent is necessary

When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our doctors and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.

Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?

Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training).

What personal information do we collect?

The information we will collect about you includes:
names, date of birth, address, contact details
medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes, healthcare identifiers & health fund details.

How do we collect your personal information?

Our practice will collect your personal information:
When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information.
We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media.
In some circumstances, personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:

  • your guardian or responsible person
  • other involved healthcare providers, such as general practitioners, specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
  • your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (as necessary).

Who do we share your personal information with?

We sometimes share your personal information:

  • with third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs and this policy
  • with diagnostic radiology and pathology providers and other health care providers (including doctors) in order to assist with your care
  • when it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
  • to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
  • for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
  • when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)

Only people that need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.

We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.

Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.

How do we store and protect your personal information?

Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms – such as paper records, electronic records, visual records (x-ray, scans, videos, photos) and audio recordings.

Our practice stores all personal information securely. We take reasonable steps to protect information from misuse and loss from unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. This includes: strong password protection of electronic format records stored in Australia, access to personal information on a ‘need to know; basis, confidentiality agreements for staff and contractors.

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?

Our practice acknowledges that patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing to the Practice Manager* and our practice will respond within 30 days and an administration fee may be charged for providing this information.

Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up-to-date. From time-to-time, we will ask you to verify your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to the Practice Manager*.

How can you lodge a privacy related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure within 30 days. Please send your request in writing to the Practice Manager*

You may also contact the OAIC. Generally the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond, before they will investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.

Dealing with us anonymously

You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.

Policy review statement

This privacy policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is in accordance with any changes that may occur. Updates will be publicised on the practice’s website and displayed at our reception desk