To ensure patients who receive care from the 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.
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 consist of 13 principle-based laws and apply equally to paper-based and digital environments. The APP complement the long-standing general practice obligation to manage personal information in a regulated, open and transparent manner.
This policy will guide Practice staff in meeting these legal obligations. It also details to patients how the Practice uses their personal information. The policy is made available to patients upon request.
The Practice will:
The Practice’s staff will take reasonable steps to ensure patients understand:
The 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
The 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’:
A patient’s personal information may be held at the Practice in various forms:
The Practice’s procedure for collecting personal information is set out below.
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, or for sending of SMS messages for non-urgent recalls or appointment reminders. These third parties are required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. The Practice will inform the patient where there is a statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information (for example, some diseases require mandatory notification).
The 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:
The 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 any such direct marketing at any time by notifying the Practice in a letter or email.
The Practice evaluates all unsolicited information it receives to decide if it should be kept, acted on or destroyed.
Access, Corrections and Privacy Concerns
The Practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. Patients are encouraged to make this request in writing, and the Practice will respond within a reasonable time.
The Practice will take reasonable steps to correct personal information where it is satisfied they are not accurate or up to date. Patients are asked to verify their information when they attend the Practice. Patients may also request the Practice corrects or updates their information. Three patient identifiers are used to confirm a patient’s details are correct. Any incorrect information noted by a patient will be addressed and corrected as soon as practicable.
The 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.