Privacy Statement

Purpose
To ensure patients who receive care from our Practice are comfortable in entrusting their health information to the Practice. This policy provides information to patients as to how their personal information (which includes their health information) is collected and used within the Practice, and the circumstances in which we may disclose it to third parties.

Related Standards
RACGP Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles: an addendum to the computer and information security standards (Second Edition).

Background and rationale
The APP provide a privacy protection framework that supports the rights and obligations of collecting, holding, using, accessing and correcting personal information. The APP consists of 13 principle based laws and apply equally to paper based and digital environments. The APP complements the long standing general practice obligation to manage personal information in a regulated, open and transparent manner.

This policy will guide our Practice staff in meeting these legal obligations. It also details to patients how the Practice uses their personal information. This policy is always available to patients upon request.

Practice Procedure
This Practice will:

  • Provide a copy of this policy upon request
  • Ensure staff comply with the APP and deal appropriately with enquiries or concerns
  • Take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to implement practices, procedures and systems to ensure compliance with the APP and deal with inquiries or complaints
  • Collect personal information for the primary purpose of managing a patient’s healthcare and for financial claims and payments.

Staff Responsibility

Our Practice’s staff will take reasonable steps to ensure patients understand:

  • What information has been and is being collected
  • Why the information is being collected, whether this is due to a legal requirement
  • How the information will be used or disclosed
  • Why and when their consent is necessary
  • Our Practice’s procedures for access and correction of information, and responding to complaints of information breaches, including by providing this policy.

Patient Consent
Our Practice will only interpret and apply a patient’s consent for the primary purpose for which it was provided. The practice staff must seek additional consent from the patient if the personal information collected may be used for any other purpose.

Collection of Information
Our Practice will need to collect personal information as a provision of clinical services to a patient at the practice. Collected personal information will include patients:

  • Names, addresses and contact details
  • Medicare number (where available)(for identification and claiming purposes)
  • Healthcare identifiers
  • Medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors

A patient’s personal information will be held at our Practice in:

  • Electronic records

 


Our Practice’s procedure for collecting personal information is set out below.

  1. Practice staff collects patient’s personal and demographic information via registration when patients present to the Practice for the first time. Patients are encouraged to pay attention to the collection statement attached to the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy.
  2. During the course of providing medical services, the Practice’s healthcare practitioners will consequently collect further personal information.
  3. Personal information may also be collected from the patient’s guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or from any other involved healthcare specialists.

Our Practice holds all personal information securely in electronic format.

Use and disclosure of information
Personal information will only be used for the purpose of providing medical services and for claims and payments, unless otherwise consented to. Some disclosure may occur to third parties engaged by or for the Practice for business purposes, such as accreditation or for the provision of information technology. These third parties are required to comply with this policy. The Practice will inform the patient where there is a statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information (for example, some diseases require mandatory notification).

Our Practice will not disclose personal information to any third party other than in the course of providing medical services, without full disclosure to the patient or the recipient, the reason for the information transfer and full consent from the patient. The Practice will not disclose personal information to anyone outside Australia without need and without patient consent.

Exceptions to disclose without patient consent are where the information is:

  • Required by law
  • 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 a confidential dispute resolution process

Our Practice will not use any personal information in relation to direct marketing to a patient without that patient’s express consent. Patients may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying the Practice in a letter or email.

Our Practice evaluates all unsolicited information it receives to decide if it should be kept, acted on or destroyed.

Our Practice will take responsible steps to correct personal information where it is satisfied they are not accurate or up to date. From time to time, the Practice will ask patients to verify the personal information held by the Practice is correct and up to date. Patients may also request the Practice corrects or updates their information, and patients should make such requests in writing or with our change of details forms.

Our Practice takes complaints and concerns about the privacy of patients personal information seriously. Patients should express any privacy concerns in writing. The Practice will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with its complaint resolution procedure. Or The National Privacy Commissioner is able to receive complaints concerning privacy issues. Complaints here will have a response within 28days.

National Privacy Commissioner
Privacy hotline 1300 363 992
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001
Website: www.privacy.gov.au/complaints

Related resources
Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles: An addendum to the computer and information security standards (Second Edition).
www.racgp.org.au/ehealth/privacy

RACGP Computer and information security standards (CISS) and templates (2013)
www.racgp.org.au/your-practice/ehealth/cis/ciss/

The RACGP Privacy handbook and patient pamphlet
www.racgp.org.au/ehealth/privacy

 

 


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