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The provision of quality health care is our principal concern. It requires a doctor patient relationship of trust and confidentiality. Your doctor regards patient health information as confidential and will only collect this information with patient consent.
Patients are entitled to know what personal information is held about them; how and under what circumstances they may have access to it; why it is held; its use; to whom and under what circumstances it may be disclosed; when consent is required for these purposes; and how it is stored.
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 (eg staff training).
What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
· name, date of birth, address and 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
· health fund details.
How do we collect your personal information?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
2. During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. Information can also be collected through electronic transfer of prescriptions (eTP), My Health Record, eg via Shared Health Summary or Event Summary.
3. We may also collect your personal information when you send us an email, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media.
4. 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 (eg 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 (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
· during the course of providing medical services, My Health Record (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
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. Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of any goods or services directly to you without your express consent.
Our practice may use your personal information to improve the quality of the services we offer to our patients through research and analysis of our patient data. We may provide de-identified data to other organisations, to improve population health outcomes. The information is secure, patients cannot be identified, and the information is stored within Australia. You can let our reception staff know if you do not want your information included.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms. Personal information is stored in electronic format in protected information systems and all paper records eg; X-rays, CT scans, hard copies of correspondence and some pathology results are stored in a secure environment in the reception area. All software and hardware are protected by individual staff passwords and staff and contractors sign confidentiality agreements. Patients can be assured that we are storing all personal information securely.
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 and send to the Practice Manager or give to the receptionist on duty and our practice will respond within 30 days. There may be a fee for complying with this request.
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. Mailing address is Scone Medical Practice, PO Box 286, SCONE. NSW 2337. Phone 6545 1600, and email is email@example.com addressed to the Practice Manager. A response will be given within 30 days or sooner if urgent.
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.
Policy review statement