Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs 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, addresses, 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.
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.
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. Information can also be collected through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record/PCEHR system, eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary.
We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us or make an online appointment.
- 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 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 other healthcare providers
- when it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
- when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient's life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient's consent
- to assist in locating a missing person
- 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)
- during the course of providing medical services, through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record/PCEHR system (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
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. A patient health record may be solely electronic, solely paper based, or a combination (hybrid) of paper and electronic records.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. Our practice ensures that our practice computers and servers comply with the RACGP computer security checklist and that:
- computers are only accessible via individual password access to those in the practice team who have appropriate levels of authorisation.
- computers have screensavers or other automated privacy protection devices are enabled to prevent unauthorised access to computers.
- servers are backed up and checked at frequent intervals, consistent with a documented business continuity plan.
- back up information is stored in a secure off site environment.
- computers are protected by antivirus software that is installed and updated regularly
- computers connected to the internet are protected by appropriate hardware/software firewalls.
- we have a business continuity plan that has been developed, tested and documented.
Electronic data transmission of patient health information from our practice is in a secure format.
How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?
Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. A patient may make a request verbally at the practice, via telephone or in writing e.g. fax, email or letter. No reason is required to be given. The request is referred to the patient's doctor. We will discuss with the individual what information they want access to, and the likely fees, before undertaking their request for access.
Our practice will takes 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 up-to-date. 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.
Patients have a 'right to complain' and where possible patients and others are encouraged to raise any concerns directly with the practice team who are trained to make sure patients of the practice feel confident that any feedback or complaints made at the practice will be handled appropriately.
We believe most complaints can be responded to and resolved at the time the patient or other people such as carers (relative, friend other consumer) makes them known to us.
You may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner ("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 336 002. You can aslo contact the Health Care Complaints Commission, Locked Mail Bag 18, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012. Ph. 1800 043 159.
This information compiled by
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners