The practice and its related companies (referred to in this document as we, us or our) recognise that your privacy is very important and we are committed to protecting the personal information we collect from you. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), Australian Privacy Principles and registered privacy codes govern the way in which we must manage your personal information. This policy describes how we collect, use, disclose and otherwise manage personal information about you.
KEEPING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION PRIVATE IN PRACTICE
The ‘personal information’ we collect includes your name, date of birth, address/es, contact details, Medicare number, healthcare identifiers and health fund details. Medical information may include a medical history and any care you may need. GPs need information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high-quality care.
Our practice follows the guidelines of the RACGP’s Handbook for the management of health information in general practice, 3rd edition (the Handbook). The Handbook incorporates federal and state privacy legislation, and the Australian Privacy Principles, which requires that your personal information is kept private and secure.
Your medical records
This practice takes steps to ensure that your medical records:
If you are uncertain why information is being requested, please ask your GP or the practice staff.
If you wish to remain anonymous while accessing healthcare services, please talk to the practice staff.
Providing your information to other GPs
In this practice, it is normal for all GPs to have access to your medical records. If you have any concerns about this please discuss them with your GP or practice staff.
It is important that other people involved in your care, such as medical specialists and other healthcare professionals, are informed of the relevant parts of your medical history, so they can provide the best care for you. Your GP will let you know when this is necessary.
Providing your information to others
GPs respect your right to decide how your personal information is used or shared. For example, this may be sharing your health information with specialist doctors. Personal information that identifies you will only be sent to other people with your consent unless there are exceptional circumstances. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle used by this practice in using and sharing your information.
Our practice will not share your personal health information with anyone else or another organisation unless:
In the above cases, only the information necessary to meet the requirements will be provided. Your health information will not ordinarily be sent overseas unless:
Using health information for quality improvement and research
This practice may use patient health information to assist in improving the quality of care we give to all our patients, by reviewing the treatments used in the practice.
Your information held by the practice may be used in research projects to improve healthcare in the community; however, this information will not include data that can identify you.
The information used for research, including the publication of research results, will not be in a form that would allow you to be identified unless the research serves an important public interest. In such cases, identifiable medical records can be used for medical research without your consent under guidelines issued by the Australian Government. Before providing such identified information, your GP will discuss with you the information that she or he is obliged to disclose.
Security of information in the practice
Australian privacy legislation applies to all personal health information recorded in electronic and paper records. All records must be kept secure to protect against unauthorised access. This practice complies with these requirements to protect your information.
Access to your health information
You may ask practice staff about any aspect of your healthcare, including information contained in your record. You can request access to your medical record and any other information the practice records about you.
If you request access to your medical record, your GP will need to consider if there may be a risk of physical or mental harm to you or any other person that may result from disclosure of your health information. Your GP may need to remove any information that will affect the privacy of other individuals.
Sharing information is important for good communication between you and practice staff. Your GP is able to provide a full explanation of the health summary or medical record you are provided access to.
Depending on what is involved, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of providing the information.
This practice does not engage in direct marketing.
Resolving concerns regarding the privacy of your health information
If you have any concerns regarding the privacy of your personal health information or the accuracy of the information held by the practice, you should discuss these with practice staff. Inaccurate information can be corrected or your concerns noted in your record. For legal reasons, the original notes will be retained.
If you have questions or a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, please ask to speak to the privacy contact officer at the practice.
Further information on privacy legislation is available from:
We store your personal information in different ways, including in paper and electronic format. We take reasonable steps to ensure the security of all information we collect from risks such as loss or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data. For example, your personal information is maintained in a secure environment which can be accessed only by authorised personnel. Your personal information is stored on our internal server. However, no data transmission over the internet or information stored on servers accessible through the internet can be guaranteed to be fully secure. These activities are undertaken at your risk.
Our website may contain links to other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy practices or content of linked websites. It is your responsibility to investigate the privacy policies of those other sites.
A copy of this policy is available here.