We are committed to protecting the privacy of patient information and to handling your personal information in a responsible manner in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, the Australian Privacy Principles and relevant State and Territory privacy legislation (referred to as privacy legislation).
We collect information that is necessary and relevant to provide you with medical care and treatment, and manage our medical practice. This information may include your name, address, date of birth, gender, health information, family history, contact details for you and your Next of Kin, and preferred emergency contact person.
Wherever practicable we will only collect information from you personally. However, we may also need to collect information from other sources such as treating specialists, radiologists, pathologists, hospitals and other health care providers.
We collect information in various ways, such as over the phone or in writing, in person in our Northbridge Medical Practice rooms or over the internet if you transact with us online. This information may be collected by medical and non-medical staff.
In emergency situations we may also need to collect information from your relatives, friends, or other sources, when we are unable to obtain your express consent.
We are required by law to retain medical records for certain periods of time depending on your age at the time we provide services.
2. Use and Disclosure
We will treat your personal information as strictly private and confidential. We will only use or disclose it for purposes directly related to your care and treatment, or in ways that you would reasonably expect that we may use it for your ongoing care and treatment. For example, on request forms for pathology or x-rays, or disclosure of test results to your specialist.
There are circumstances where we may be permitted or required by law to disclose
your personal information to third parties. For example, to Medicare, Police, insurers, solicitors, government regulatory bodies, tribunals, courts of law, hospitals, or debt collection agents. We may also from time to time provide de-identified statistical data to third parties for research purposes.
We may disclose information about you to outside contractors to carry out activities on our behalf, such as an IT service provider, solicitor or debt collection agent. We impose security and confidentiality requirements on how they handle your personal information. Outside contractors are required not to use information about you for any purpose except for those activities we have asked them to perform.
You are entitled to request access to your medical records. We request that you put your request in writing and we will respond to it within a reasonable time.
There may be a fee for the administrative costs of retrieving and providing you with copies of your medical records.
We may deny access to your medical records in certain circumstances permitted by law, for example, if disclosure may cause a serious threat to your health or safety. We will always tell you why access is denied and the options you have to respond to our decision.
4. Data Quality
We will take reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is accurate, compete, up to date and relevant. For this purpose our staff will ask you to confirm that your contact details are correct when you attend a consultation. We request that you let us know if any of your contact details change and if any of the information we hold about you is incorrect or out of date.
5. Security and Storage
Your information is stored on our computer medical records system, and some is still in hand written medical records.
Your personal information that we hold is protected by:
▶ securing our own premises; plus our location in a building whose access is secured after hours; and our rooms have a fully monitored back to base alarm system
▶ placing passwords and varying access levels on databases to limit access and protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification and disclosure
▶our staff are required to sign a confidentiality agreement and are aware that any breach of this agreement has extremely serious consequences
If you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, we ask that you contact us in writing (see details below).
If you have a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, we request that you contact our Practice Manager or your usual doctor in writing. Upon receipt of a complaint we will consider the details and attempt to resolve it in accordance with our complaints handling procedures.
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of a complaint or the outcome you may make an application to the Australian Information Commissioner or the Privacy Commissioner in your State or Territory.
8. Overseas Transfer of Data
We will not transfer your personal information to an overseas recipient unless we have your consent or we are required to do so by law.
Please direct any queries, complaints, or requests for access to medical records to our practice manager or your usual doctor.