We are committed to protecting the privacy of patient information and to handling your personal information in a responsible manner in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, the Australian Privacy Principles and relevant State and Territory privacy legislation (referred to as privacy legislation).
We collect information that is necessary and relevant to provide you with medical care and treatment, and manage our medical practice. This information may include your name, address, date of birth, gender, health information, family history and contact details. This information may be stored on our computer medical records system.
Wherever practicable we will only collect information from you personally. However, we may also need to collect information from other sources such as treating specialists, radiologists,pathologists, hospitals and other health care providers. We collect information in various ways, such as over the phone, fax, in writing, in person in our Practice or over the internet if you transact with us online. This information may be collected by medical and non-medical staff. In emergency situations we may also need to collect information from your relatives or friends. We may be required by law to retain medical records for certain periods of time depending on your age at the time we provide services.
USE AND DISCLOSURE
We will treat your personal information as strictly private and confidential. We will only use or disclose it for purposes directly related to your care and treatment, or in ways that you would reasonably expect that we may use it for your ongoing care and treatment. For example, the disclosure of blood test results to your specialist or requests for x-rays.
There are circumstances where we may be permitted or required by law to disclose your personal information to third parties. For example, to Medicare, Police, insurers, solicitors, government regulatory bodies, tribunals, courts of law, hospitals, or debt collection agents. We may also from time to time provide statistical data to third parties for research purposes. We may disclose information about you to outside contractors to carry out activities on our behalf, such as an IT service provider, solicitor or debt collection agent. We impose security and confidentiality requirements on how they handle your personal information. Outside contractors are required not to use information about you for any purpose except for those activities we have asked them to perform.
DATA QUALITY AND SECURITY
We will take reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is accurate, complete, up to date and relevant. For this purpose our staff may ask you to confirm that your contact details are correct when you attend a consultation. We request that you let us know if any of the information we hold about you is incorrect or out of date. Personal information that we hold is protected by:
securing our premises
placing passwords and varying access levels on databases to limit access and protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification and disclosure.
If you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, we ask that you contact us in writing (see details below)
You are entitled to request access to your medical records. We request that you put your request in writing and provide proof of identity and we will respond to it within a reasonable time. There may be a fee for the administrative costs of retrieving and providing you with copies of your medical records. We may deny access to your medical records in certain circumstances permitted by law, for example, if disclosure may cause a serious threat to your health or safety or infringes the privacy of a third party. We will always tell you why access is denied and the options you have to respond to our decision.
If you have a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, we request that you contact us in writing. Upon receipt of a complaint we will consider the details and attempt to resolve it in accordance with our complaints handling procedures.If you are dissatisfied with our handling of a complaint or the outcome you may make an application to the Australian Information Commissioner or the Privacy Commissioner in your State or Territory.
OVERSEAS TRANSFER OF DATA
We will not transfer your personal information to an overseas recipient unless we have your consent or we are required to do so by law.
PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY INFORMATION WHEN I SEE MY GP?
WHAT TYPES OF INFORMATION DO YOU COLLECT?
Your doctor needs information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high quality are. Information is called ‘personal health information’ if it concerns your health, medical history or past or future medical care and if someone reading it would be able to identify you. This practice follows the Guidelines on Privacy in the Private Health Sector developed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. This means that your personal health information is kept private and secure.
The Practice has a written policy on how your personal information is handled and it is available to all patients.
WHERE DO YOU STORE MY ‘PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION’?
We store your personal health information is a medical record. Your doctor will do his/her best to make sure that your medical record:
Is accurate, comprehensive, well-organized and legible
Is up to date
Has enough information to allow another doctor to care for you
Does not contain offensive or irrelevant comment about you
Contains a summary of your care
Can be used to remind you with your permission to return for follow up, check up’s and reviews
Your doctor will only collect information that is relevant to your medical care. If you are uncertain as to why information is being requested, please ask your doctor.
PROVIDING YOUR INFORMATION TO OTHER DOCTORS
The doctors in this practice respect your right to decide how your personal health information is used or disclosed (for example to other doctors). In all but exceptional circumstances, personal information that identifies you will be sent to other people only with your consent. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle. Sometimes it is important that other people are involved in your care. This includes other doctors and they are informed of relevant parts of your medical history so they can best care for you. After discussion with you, your doctor will write a letter to the other doctor, which will either be posted or faxed or given to you to take to them. In most group practices, it is customary for all doctors in the practice to have access to all the medical records. If you have concerns about this, please discuss with your doctor.
DO YOU EVER GIVE MY ‘PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION’ TO OTHER PEOPLE?
We consider that patients attending this Practice expect that information provided will be used only to assist in the managing their health care. We also consider that patients would reasonable expect that selected personal health details will be disclosed to other health services directly involved in providing a health service to the individual. Unless you would reasonably expect it, your doctor will not disclose your personal health information to a third party unless:
You have consented to the disclosure
This disclosure is necessary because you are at risk of harm without treatment and you are unable to give consent eg you are unconscious after an accident
Your doctor is legally obliged to disclose the information eg notification of certain infectious diseases or suspected child abuse or a subpoena or court order
The information is necessary to obtain Medicare payments or other health insurance rebates
This disclosure if necessary for the doctors in the Practice to carry out a review of their Practice for the purpose of improving the quality of care provided and the activity has been approved under Commonwealth or State legislation or by a medical College. This provides safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information provided
There is an overriding public interest in the release of the information In any of the above cases only information necessary to achieve the objective will be given.
HOW DO I ACCESS MY ‘PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION’?
You have access to the information contained in your medical record. Information in your record can be provided to you by way of an accurate and up to date summary of your care eg if you are moving away or transferring to a new doctor. This is done by signing a consent with your new doctor that they forward to the Practice. This is then sent to the new doctor. If you request a full medical record, the Practice has a consent that is signed by you. This needs to be discussed with your doctor and an appropriate time arranged to deal with this request. A small but reasonable administration fee may be charged to provide such access as well as time with your doctor.