Privacy and Confidentiality of your Medical Record
Your medical record is a confidential document. It is the policy of this practice to maintain security of personal health information at all times and to ensure that this information is only available to authorised members of staff.
Transfer of health records to another practice
Transfer of medical records from this practice can occur in the following instances:
- When a patient asks for their medical record to be transferred to another practice
- For medico-legal reasons, eg. Record is subpoenaed to court
- Patient presents for consultation at our branch practice. The record is requested from that branch via telephone/fax. When a doctor is to consult at that branch for the next session he/she takes the record over or we utilise the confidential courier service.
- Where an individual medical record report is requested from another source.
Our practice follows this procedure when transferring health records to another practice:
- Prior to forwarding a copy or summary of the medical record to the requesting organisation, ensure that the patient provides the practice with a signed document indicating their consent.
- If a photocopy of the medical record is sent, stamp or record “COPY” on each page.
- Send the medical record photocopy or summary to the requesting organisation via registered post/patient/courier with a fee indicated (if appropriate).
- Prior to sending the request, photocopy the letter and attach with the patient’s consent to their medical record.
Transfer of health records from another practice
At times it is necessary for a doctor to become familiar with a new patient’s medical history via their health record from a previous practice. If a copy or summary of a health record is required, written patient consent must be provided to the former practice by the patient.
Our practice follows this procedure when transferring health records from another practice:
1. ask the patient to write a letter / sign a form indicating consent for their previous practice to forward a copy or summary of their health record
2. send a letter to the previous practice requesting that they provide a copy or summary of the patient’s health record and enclose the original copy of the patient’s consent
3. prior to sending the request, photocopy the letter and consent from the patient and attach it to the patient’s new health record.
Request for personal health information
Patients of our practice have the right to access their personal health information under the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000.
Our practice informs patients that they are able to access their health information. This is done via the practice information sheet, notice in the waiting area.
On request for access to personal health information, our practice documents each request and endeavours to assist patients in granting access where possible and according to the privacy legislation. Forward the patient request to the patient’s GP to check for exemptions. Exemptions to access must be noted and each patient or legally nominated representative must have their identification checked prior to access being granted.
AUSTRALIAN Privacy Principles (APP) Policy
Part A – Purpose and Context
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre is committed to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of all personal information affiliated with the business undertakings.
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre follows the terms and conditions of privacy and confidentiality in accordance to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) as per schedule 1 of the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012(Cth), forming part of the Privacy Act 1988 (‘the Act’).
- The point of contact regarding any queries regarding this policy is the Practice Manager or the Practice Principals.
Part B – Australian Privacy Principles
- As a private sector health service provider and under permitted health situations, Northside Plaza Medical Centre is required to comply with the APPs as prescribed under the Act.
- The APPs regulate how Northside Plaza Medical Centre may collect, use, disclose and store personal information and how individuals,including, Northside Plaza Medical Centre patients may:
- address breaches of the APPs by Northside Plaza Medical Centre;
- access their own personal information and,
- correct their own personal information.
- In order to provide patients with adequate health care services, Northside Plaza Medical Centre will need to collect and use personal information. It is important to be aware that if the patient provides incomplete or inaccurate information or the patient withholds personal health information Northside Plaza Medical Centre may not be able to provide said patient with the services they are requesting.
- "personal information" as defined by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Meaning
"information or an opinion including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material format or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion"; and,
- "health information" as defined by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). This is a particular subset of "personal information" and means information or an opinion about:
- the health or a disability (at any time) of an individual;
- an individual's expressed wishes about the future provision of health services to him or her; or,
- a health service provided or to be provided to an individual.
- Personal information also includes 'sensitive information' which is information including, but not limited to a patient’s:
- political opinions;
- sexual preferences; and or,
- health information.
- Information deemed'sensitive information' attracts a higher privacy standard under the Act and is subject to additional mechanisms for the patient’s protection.
Part C – Types of personal information
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre collects information from each individual patient that is necessary to provide said patient with adequate health care services.
- This may include collecting information about a patient’s health history, family history, ethnic background or current lifestyle to assist the health care team in diagnosing and treating a patient’s condition.
Part D – collection & Retention
- This information will in most circumstances be collected directly from you via registration form, medical consult form, face to face consultation etc.
- In other instances, Northside Plaza Medical Centre may need to collect personal information about a patient from a third party source. This may include:
- other health service providers.
- This will only be conducted if the patient has provided consent for Northside Plaza Medical Centre to collect his/her information from a third party source; or, where it is not reasonable or practical for Northside Plaza Medical Centre to collect this information directly from said patient. This may include where:
- the patient’s health is potentially at risk and his/her personal information is needed to provide them with emergency medical treatment.
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre endeavours to store and retain a patient’s personal & health information in electronic / digital form on a domestic server.
Part E – Purpose of collection, Use & Disclosure
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre only uses a patient’s personal information for the purpose(s) they have provided the information for unless one of the following applies:
- the patient has consented for Northside Plaza Medical Centreto use his/her information for an alternative or additional purpose;
- the disclosure of the patient’s information by Northside Plaza Medical Centre is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of criminal law or a law imposing a penalty or sanction, or for the protection of public revenue;
- the disclosure of the patient’s information by Northside Plaza Medical Centre will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody's life or health; or,
- Northside Plaza Medical Centreis required or authorised by law to disclose your information for another purpose.
- Health Professionals to provide treatment
During the patient’s treatment at Northside Plaza Medical Centre he/she may be referred to alternative medical treatment/services (i.e. pathology or radiologywhere Northside Plaza Medical Centre staff may consult with senior medical experts when determining a patient’s diagnosis or treatment.
Northside Plaza Medical Centre staff may also refer the patient to other health service providers for further treatment during and following the patient’s admission (i.e. physiotherapist or outpatient or community health services).
These health professionals will be designated health service providers appointed to use the patient’s health information as part of the process of providing treatment. Please note that this process will be conducted whilst maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of the patient’s personal information.
- Alternative Health services
At any point a patient wishes to be treated by an alternative medical practitioner or health care service that requires access to his/her personal/health information Northside Plaza Medical Centre requires written authorisation.This written authorisation is to state that the patient will be utilising alternative health services and that these health services have consented for a transfer of personal/health information.
- Other Third Parties
Northside Plaza Medical Centre may provide your personal information regarding a patient’s treatment or condition to additional third parties. These third parties may include:
- other relatives;
- close personal friends;
- guardians; or,
- a person exercising a patient’s power of attorney under an enduring power of attorney.
Where information is relevant or reasonable to be provided to third parties, written consent from the patient is required.
Additionally, the patient may at any time wish to disclose that no third parties as stated are to access or be informed about his/her personal information or circumstances.
- Other Uses of Personal Information
In order to provide the best possible environment in which to treat patients, Northside Plaza Medical Centre may also use personal/health information where necessary for:
- activities such as quality assurance processes, accreditation, audits, risk and claims management, patient satisfaction surveys and staff education and training;
- invoicing, billing and account management;
- to liaise with a patient’s health fund, Medicare or the Department of Veteran's Affairs, as necessary; and,
- the purpose of complying with any applicable laws – i.e. in response to a subpoena or compulsory reporting to State or Federal authorities.
- If at any point or for any of the aforementioned reasons Northside Plaza Medical Centre uses or discloses personal/ health information in accordance with the APPs, Northside Plaza Medical Centre will provide written notice for the patient’s consent for the use and/or disclosure.
Part F – Access and changes to personal information
- If an individual patient reasonably requests access to their personal information for the purposes of changing said information he/she must engage with the relevant practice manager.
- The point of contact for patient access to personal information is:
The Practice Manager – currently – Allana Gregson
- Once an individual patient requests access to his/her personal information Northside Plaza Medical Centre will respond within a reasonable period of time to provide said information.
- All personal will be updated in accordance to any changes to a patient’s personal circumstances brought to Northside Plaza Medical Centre's attention. All changes to personal information will be subject to patient’s consent and acknowledgement.
Part G – Complaints handling
- How an individual patient may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, or a registered APP code (if any) that binds the entity, and how the entity will deal with such a complaint.
Part H – Personal Information and overseas recipients
- Use of Overseas Parties:
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre does not engage with any overseas entities, with which personal or health information would be transferred, appointed or disclosed.
Part i – Disposal of personal/health information
- If Northside Plaza Medical Centre receives any unsolicited personal information that is not deemed appropriate for the permitted health situation, Northside Plaza Medical Centre will reasonably de-identify and dispose of said information accordingly.
- If Northside Plaza Medical Centre holds any personal or health information that is no longer deemed relevant or appropriate for the permitted health situation, Northside Plaza Medical Centre will reasonably de-identify and dispose of said information accordingly.
Part J – Access to policy
Policy and Procedure Manual and on the Server – in Templates
Part K – Review of Policy
- Northside Plaza Medical Centre in accordance with any legislative change will review the terms and conditions of this policy to ensure all content is both accurate and up to date.
Part L – Patient Acknowledgement
I _____________________, acknowledge that I have read the aforementioned Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and understand the requirements of Northside Plaza Medical Centre and myself in how to manage my personal information whilst attending Northside Plaza Medical Centre.
Our practice follows this procedure on request for access to personal health information in accordance to the privacy legislation: