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 (e.g. staff training).
What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
- 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 may collect your personal information in several different ways.
- 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 specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
- your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).
When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?
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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. some diseases require mandatory notification)
- during the course of providing medical services, through eTP, My Health Record (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people who 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.
Patient information collected and retained in our records for the purpose of providing quality health care will be complete, accurate and up to date at the time of collection. Doctors are reminded to review past medical history at least every three years.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms.
- As electronic records
- As paper records
- As visuals e.g. xrays, ct scans, videos and photos
- As audio recordings
X-Rays and CT scans are delivered to the clinic, but patients are expected to collect them at their next appointment. All paper records received are scanned into the patients electronic holding file and are then confidentially destroyed.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. All due care will be taken to ensure the protection of patient privacy during the transfer, storage and use of personal health information.
Retention of medical records is for a minimum of 7 years from the date of last entry into the patient record unless the patient is a child in which case the record must be kept until the patient attains the age of 25 years of age.
How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information. Individuals have the right to obtain their personal information in accordance with the Federal Privacy Act from 20 December 2001 onwards. Requests must be made in writing and an acknowledgement letter will be sent to the patient within 14 days confirming the request and detailing whether the request can be complied with and an indication of any costs associated with providing the information. Time spent and photocopying costs when processing a request can be passed on to the requesting patient. Information can be expected to be provided within 30 days. Whilst the individual is not required to give a reason for obtaining the information, a patient may be asked to clarify the scope of the request.
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 that 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 email@example.com
To protect the rights of a child’s privacy, access to a child’s medical information may at times be restricted for parents and guardians. Release of information may be referred back to the treating Doctor where their professional judgement and the law will be applied.
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. Complaints can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Hughes Clinic, 160 Unley Road, SA, 5061.
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.
Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992
Policy review statement
This policy will be reviewed annually, or whenever significant legislation changes are made.
Review Date July 2021, Approved, Rebecca Goodall Practice Manager Hughes Medical Clinic