Privacy Policy

 

1. Introduction

Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of information we collect. This Privacy Policy has been developed to protect patient privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘the Privacy Act’).  This policy is to inform you of:

  • the kinds of information that we collect and hold, which, as a medical practice, is likely to be ‘health information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act;
  • how we collect and hold personal information;
  • the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
  • how you may access your personal information and seek the correction of that information;
  • how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint; and
  • whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients.

 

2. What kinds of personal information do we collect?

The type of information we may collect and hold includes:

  • Your name, address, date of birth, email and contact details
  • Medicare number, DVA number and other government identifiers, although we will not use these for the purposes of identifying you in our practice
  • Other health information about you, including:
    • notes of your symptoms or diagnosis and the treatment given to you
    • your specialist reports and test results
    • your appointment and billing details
    • your prescriptions and other pharmaceutical purchases
    • your genetic information if applicable
    • your healthcare identifier
    • any other information about your race, sexuality or religion, when collected by a health service provider

 

3. How do we collect and hold personal information?

We will generally collect personal information:

  • from you directly when you provide your details to us. This might be via a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, registration form or email from you
  • from a person responsible for you
  • from third parties where the Privacy Act or other law allows it – this may include, but is not limited to:  other members of your treating team, diagnostic centres, specialists, hospitals, the My Health Record system[1], electronic prescription services, Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

 

4. Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?

In general, we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:

  • to provide health services to you
  • to communicate with you in relation to the health service being provided to you to comply with our legal obligations, including, but not limited to, mandatory notification of communicable diseases or mandatory reporting under applicable child protection legislation
  • to help us manage our accounts and administrative services, including billing and pursuing unpaid accounts
  • for consultations with other doctors and allied health professional involved in your healthcare
  • to obtain, analyse and discuss test results from diagnostic and pathology laboratories
  • for identification and insurance claiming
  • to liaise with government and regulatory bodies such as Medicare, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (if you make a privacy complaint to the OAIC), as necessary

 

5. How can you access and correct your personal information?

You have a right to seek access to, and request correction of the personal information which we hold about you. Our practice has the right to refuse to alter information if the practice is satisfied that the information is not incomplete, incorrect, irrelevant, out of date or misleading, or if the request contains information that is incorrect or misleading. There may be a fee involved with this request which you will be notified in advance.

For details on how to access and correct your health record, please contact our practice as noted below under ‘Contact Details’.

We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.

 

6. How do we hold your personal information?

Our practice has systems in place to protect the privacy, security, quality and integrity of the data held electronically. Our staff are trained and required to respect and protect your privacy. We take reasonable steps to protect information held from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

If you attended our practice prior to 2005 our practice may hold hard copies of your old medical history and these records are kept in secure filing cabinets and accessible only by practice staff.

As part of our commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the information contained in your medical record we advise that strict secure storage policies are observed in this practice.

Our staff are required to sign confidentiality agreements as part of their employment at this practice. Each member of staff is well versed in the principles and importance of doctor–patient confidentiality.

Your personal and medical information are stored electronically and all reasonable steps are taken to prevent any unlawful interference with your electronic records, which are accessible only by staff of this practice and access is protected by a security password.

Our computers are protected by antivirus software, antispyware and firewalls and we update the security technology on an ongoing basis.

Hard copies of patient information are disposed by an external provider that specialises in secure document destruction.

 

7. Privacy related questions and complaints

If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of your personal information by us, you may lodge your complaint in writing to (see below for details).  We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.

Practice Manager

PO Box 1240

Bondi Junction

NSW 1355

 

If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the OAIC:

Phone: 1300 363 992

Email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au

Fax: +61 2 9284 9666

Post: GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

Website: https://www.oaic.gov.au/individuals/how-do-i-make-a-privacy-complaint

 

8. Anonymity and pseudonyms

The Privacy Act provides that individuals must have the option of not identifying themselves, or if using a pseudonym, when dealing with our practice, except in certain circumstances, such as where it is impracticable for us to deal with you if you have not identified yourself.

There may be a range of circumstances where providing services anonymously may be impracticable. For example:

  • your medical condition may require a follow up appointment. If you do not provide details to allow this, your ongoing care may be compromised
  • the care to be provided involves a multi-disciplinary team, making it difficult to provide ongoing care without a clear identification of you
  • your medical status may be compromised if a clinician cannot obtain clinical information critical to providing safe and appropriate care
  • you are legally required to identify yourself if you wish to access to Medicare benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs entitlements and prescriptions for restricted substances

Our practice reserves the right to decide on requests for anonymity and the use of pseudonyms on a case by case basis. Please speak to our Front Office Manager or refer to the contact details noted above under ‘Contact Details’.

 

9. Overseas disclosure

We do not disclose your personal information to overseas recipients. An exception to this policy is if you request and authorise our practice to do so.

 

10. Updates to this Policy

This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to take account of new laws and technology, changes to our operations and other necessary developments.

 

11. Privacy and websites

Our website is provided to inform you about the services provided by our practice. We do not collect personal information about you when you visit our website. If you choose to contact us via our General Enquiry form your contact details are only used to respond to your enquiry. You are not required to provide your real name if you send your enquiry via our website.

Our website uses ‘cookies’ to help us understand the browsing behaviour of our website users. The following non-personally identifiable information are collected, including but not limited to browser type, version and language, operating system, pages viewed while browsing the our website, page access times and referring website address. This collected information is used solely internally for the purpose of gauging visitor traffic, trends and delivering personalized content to you while you are our website. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, disable JavaScript, or use the opt-out service provided by Google – external site. However if you refuse the use of cookies you may not have the full functionality of our website.

Our website uses Google Analytics, a service which transmits website traffic data to Google servers. By using our website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner described in Google’s Privacy Policy – external site. We use reports provided by Google Analytics to help us understand website traffic and webpage usage.

Our website may contain links to other websites. Please note that our practice is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. When you go to other websites from our website, we advise you to read their privacy policy.

 

Our practice reserves the right to make amendments to this Privacy Policy at any time. If you have objections to our Privacy Policy, you should not access or use our website.

[1] See: https://myhealthrecord.gov.au/internet/mhr/publishing.nsf/content/home

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