We value the doctor-patient relationship. Patient privacy is vital to such a relationship. The Privacy Act 1988 and its recent amendments formalise the already existing and acknowledged obligations of our practice.
Our doctors and staff collect information from patients primarily to provide proper care and treatment. We have a legal and ethical duty to protect patient information. Patient information may have to be disclosed to other doctors, nurses, therapists and medical technicians so that proper health care is not compromised.
The doctors in this practice are members of various medical and professional bodies including medical defence organisations. These organisations provide valuable services to their members. They require their members to provide information in relation to their medical practice, which may include patient information.
Patients who wish to look at their information held by this practice or who have other queries about privacy of information are welcome to discuss these matters with their treating doctors.
1. COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
At this practice we collect personal information from our patients for the purpose of providing health care services. The provision of these services includes the obtaining of pathology, radiology and other related services. Transfer of information to specialists, and other ancillary health agencies will be done with the full knowledge of the patient, and the practice will consider this implied consent.
2. USE AND DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
The confidentiality of personal information held at this practice has always been of paramount concern. Our staff are all aware of the importance of patient confidentiality, and sign a Confidentiality Agreement Form at the commencement of their employment.
- We will only use or disclose the personal information of our patients for the purpose of providing health services, for limited related purposes eg debt recovery or audit, or where required by law eg litigation.
- Information collected in this practice for the purpose of health care will be available to all doctors within the practice, when the need arises, in accordance with the Practice ethos of total patient care.
- Doctors in this practice are members of medical defence organisations and may need to disclose some personal information to these organisations from time to time.
- In other situations we would not disclose your personal information without obtaining your consent.
3. QUALITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
We will endeavour to ensure that all personal information collected by this practice is accurate, complete and correct. Patients are encouraged to notify any change of details at time of consultation, and this will be immediately edited in their records.
Review of files is performed periodically, and culled files are stored as per item 5.
4. ACCESS AND CORRECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
If you wish to access your personal information held at this practice please advise receptionist. A suitable appointment time with the treating doctor will be arranged for this purpose. A consultation fee will apply.
If you require a copy of your personal information a fee for consultation plus photocopying charges will be payable.
If you wish to append any information held in your file, and the doctor disagrees with the change, the doctor is entitled to record a note to this effect against the appendage.
Should access be denied, a reason for this denial will be provided to you.
5. SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
- To ensure the security of personal information held at this practice all records are stored in lockable filing cabinets
- Information stored on our computer is password protected and only accessible by authorised staff in the practice.
- Transfer of information to Government agencies eg. HIC is secured by PKI security codes.
- Internet access is protected by provision of a firewall.
- Inactive files are stored for the legally required time in lockable storage. When discarded they are sent to a secure document destruction facility, as is any rubbish which contains personal details of patients.
- If the event of files being removed from the premises eg Home Visits, the doctor will take necessary precautions to ensure the files are secure.
- No information will be released to any other party, including family members without the consent of the patient, unless the patient is considered unable to give this consent, eg children or intellectually impaired patients. This includes day-to-day phone enquiries regarding appointments and attendances.
- This practice is protected after hours by a monitored security service.
6. USE OF IDENTIFIERS:
This practice will only use the Medicare numbers collected from patients for the purpose of billing for medical services provided to its patients. Similarly we would not use or disclose any other government identifying number which you may give to us.
7. SENDING INFORMATION OVERSEAS:
Should it become necessary to transmit your personal information overseas we will endeavour to ensure that your personal information is adequately protected. A signed consent will be required from the patient before any transmission is undertaken.
Should a patient wish to complain about our medical services or any other related matter they should be asked to contact the practice manager in the first instance. The practice manager will direct the enquiry to the relevant doctors at the first opportunity, and a mutually suitable time will be arranged to meet with all parties, to resolve the issue.
If a patient is still not satisfied they may contact:
The Medical Registration Board, AMA, or Healthcare Complaints Commission
Health Quality and Complaints Commission
GPO Box 3089
Telephone: (07) 3120 5999