Personal information for patients
“Your Privacy : Our Policy”
This aims to explain clearly how personal information about you and your health is recorded and managed in this practice.
Your personal health information
Your doctor needs information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high quality care. This practice will make sure that you are able to discuss your health with your doctor in private.
Information is called “personal health information” it concerns your health, medical history or past or future medical care, name, address, date of birth, medicare, health insurance or government benefit numbers (if relevant) , details of family members including spouse, next of kin and persons we may need to contact in an emergency.
Your medical record
Any information that we may collect about you is placed on file which is kept secure at all times. Only those people who need to refer to your file will have access. We endeavour to ensure that no one who does not have a need to read your file has access to it. The only information we collect is relevant to your medical care used to assist us in providing a service to you.
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 (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.
It is important that other people are involved in your care, such as other doctors, 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 or referral to another doctor if necessary for continuity of medical care.
In most group practices, it is customary for all doctors in the practice to have access to all medical records which may be necessary for emergency care.
Providing your information to others
The practice will not disclose your personal health information to a third party unless:
- you have consented to the disclosure: or
- the disclosure is necessary because you are at risk of harm without treatment and you are unable to give consent – eg you may be unconscious after an accident; or
- your doctor is legally obliged to disclose information – eg notification of certain infectious diseases, suspected child abuse, subpoena or court order; or
- the information is necessary to obtain Medicare, and private health funds if relevant, for billing and medical rebate purposes
The practice at all times will protect the patients’ privacy when communicating electronically about patients by using a secure encrypted message system to other health providers.
If a patient wishes to communicate with the practice electronically they will need to give their consent which will be held on their patient file.
Security of information in the practice
All personal information held about you will be continually supervised. All staff sign confidentiality statements on commencement of employment. Written records will be stored in locked storage when not in use. Information held on computer will be password protected. All written information will be destroyed by shredding, burning or pulping if it is no longer needed. Only authorized staff will have access to your records while the practice holds your health information.
Your access to your health information
You have access to the information contained in your medical record. You may ask your doctor about any aspect of your health care including information in your record. We believe that sharing information is important for good communication between you and your doctor and for ongoinghigh quality health care.
Information in your record can be provided to you by way of an accurate and up to date summary of your care, for instance if you are moving away or transferring to a new doctor. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor if you want a summary of your care for any reason and your doctor will be pleased to provide a full explanation of the health summary or medical record provided. You will be required to complete a request to have your file accessed. Depending on what is involved, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of providing the information. If you request a summary or direct access to your full medical record your doctor will need to take out any information provided by others on a confidential basis.
Resolving your concerns regarding the privacy of your health information
If you have any concerns regarding privacy of your health information or regarding the accuracy of the information held by the practice, you should discuss these with your doctor. Inaccurate information will be corrected or your concerns noted in the records if it is not possible or desirable to alter the original records.
In the event that you have any complaint about the way we deal with privacy issues, please in the first instance contact our Practice Manager on 8555 2404. If we cannot resolve the issue you have the right to contact the Privacy Commission on 1300 363 992 to address the issue.