Your privacy is our business
It is necessary for us to collect "personal information" from patients and sometimes others associated with their health care in order to attend to their health needs and for associated administrative purposes. Personal information is any information recorded about a person where their identity is known or could be reasonably worked out. We will be fair in the way we collect information about our patients. This information is generally collected directly from our patients, but from time to time we may receive patient information from other sources. When this occurs we will, wherever possible, make sure you know we have received this information. Personal information also includes photographs (see our "policy on patient photographs" later). If you are unwilling to provide any of the information we request please discuss it with us. In certain circumstances this may necessitate that you seek professional services elsewhere and not from us.
Health information is "sensitive information" for the purposes of privacy legislation. This means that generally your consent will be sought to collect such health information that is necessary to make an accurate medical diagnosis, prescribe appropriate treatment and to be proactive in your health care
Use and disclosure
A patient's personal health information is used (i.e. by this practice) or disclosed (i.e. to others) for purposes directly related to their health care and in ways that are consistent with patients' expectations. In the interests of the highest quality and continuity of health care this may include sharing information with other health-care providers who comprise a patient's medical team from time to time. In addition there are circumstances when information will be disclosed without patient consent such as:
- Emergency situations.
- By law, doctors are sometimes required to disclose information for public interest reasons, eg mandatory reporting of some communicable diseases.
- It may be necessary to disclose information about a patient to fulfil a medical indemnity insurance obligation and medical defence purposes
- Provision of information to Medicare or private health funds, if relevant, for billing and medical rebate purposes
- To credit agencies and debt collection agencies in the event of default on bill payment after fair warning.
- Your involvement in unlawful activity
In general, a patient's health information will not be used for any other purpose without their consent.
There are some necessary purposes of collection for which information will be used beyond providing health care, such as professional accreditation, quality assessments, clinical audit, billing and so forth.
All patient information held by this practice relevant to the functions of providing health care will be maintained in a form that is accurate, complete and up-to-date.
The storage, use and, where necessary, transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects patient privacy. It is necessary for medical practices to keep patient information after a patient's last attendance for as long as is required by law or is prudent having regard to administrative requirements.
This practice has made this and other material available to you to inform you of our policies on management of personal information. On request this practice will let you know, generally, what sort of personal information we hold, for what purposes, and how we collect, hold, use and disclose that information
Access and correction
You may request access to your personal health information held by this practice. While not required to give reasons for your request, you may be asked to clarify the scope of the request.
- Where such a request is made strict identification criteria are used so as information is not mistakenly disclosed.
- Where necessary, you will be given the opportunity to amend any personal information held that is incorrect.
- There are some circumstances in which access is restricted, and in these cases reasons for denying access will be explained.
- A charge may be payable when the practice incurs costs in providing access.
- The material where the doctor has copyright might be subject to conditions that prevent further copying or publication without the doctor's permission.
- This practice acknowledges the right of children to privacy of their health information. Based on the professional judgment of the doctor and consistent with the law, it might at times be necessary to restrict access to personal health information by parents or guardians.
- Upon your request your health information held by this practice will be made available to another health service provider.
These are the numbers, letters or symbols that are used to identify you with or without the use of a name (eg: Medicare numbers). We will limit the use of identifiers assigned to you by Commonwealth Government agencies to those uses necessary to fulfil our obligations to those agencies.
You have a right to be dealt with anonymously, provided this is lawful and practicable. However, in the medical context that this is not likely to be practicable or possible for Medicare and insurance rebate purposes. It could also be dangerous to your health.
Transborder data flows
Individual's privacy is protected Australia wide by privacy laws. We will take steps to protect patient privacy if information is to be sent interstate or outside Australia.
It is important to us that your expectations about the way in which we handle your information are the same as ours. You should feel free to discuss any concerns, questions or complaints about any issues related to the privacy of your personal information with us. If you are still dissatisfied you can complain to the Federal Privacy Commissioner, whose details are below.
Further information about an individual's privacy rights can be obtained from the Federal Privacy Commissioner's office at
Level 8 Piccadilly Tower
133 Castlereagh St or GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2000 Sydney NSW 1042
Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992