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
This information forms your patient health record. A patient’s health record is defined as:
Information, held about a patient, in electronic form, which may include:
• contact and demographic information
• medical history
• notes on treatment
• test results photographs
• prescription records
• medication charts
• insurance information
• legal information and reports
• work health and safety reports
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)
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.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms.
Your information is stored mainly electronically, in our secure, licensed Practice Based Software that is industry specific and meets the RACGP standards.
Other information such as consent forms may be stored in our secure file sharing system, which is password protected, encrypted and safe and only accessible to staff who have a genuine need to access this information.
Our practice stores all personal information securely.
Patient information and other related information regarding clinical care in stored electronically, in our Medical database. We also enlist the help of an external IT provider to help us ensure our information systems remains secure and safely protected at all times.
Document Automation Technologies
Our practice uses document automation technologies with our clinic software, to ensure that only the relevant medical information is included in documents such as referral letters and prescriptions. This ensures that irrelevant private medical information is not shared unnecessarily.
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.
Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing via an email or a written letter and our practice will respond within a reasonable time. We will endeavour to respond to your request for information as soon as possible, but no longer than 45 days. In order to cover administrative costs, a fee will be charged to provide a copy of Medical Records.
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 ‘Practice Manager’ 160 Surf Coast Highway, Torquay, 3228.
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. Please address your complaint in in writing attention of the Practice Manager at 160 Surf Coast Highway, Torquay, 3228. We will ensure your complaint is addressed within 30 days of receipt as per our complaints process.
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 and our website
Information is collected electronically from our websites and booking applications. By electing to interact with us electronically, consent to collect basic personal information is implied.
Policy review statement
This policy will be amended in line with any regulated changes that may occur. The Practice Manager reviews this policy every six months (January and June).