Collection and use of your information
This practice provides high quality continuing care for you. In order to do so, we are required to collect sensitive information such as:
- your current and previous medical conditions
- family health history
- personal details including full name, date of birth, phone numbers, government identifiers including your Medicare number, address and email
- credit card and direct debit details
We collect this information so that we can make accurate diagnoses, provide appropriate treatment and ensure ongoing health care; and for the management of our practice. It may be stored on our computerised medical records system and/or in hand written records.
Where possible we will only collect information from you personally, however we may also need to collect information from other sources such as treating specialists, radiologists, pathologists, hospitals and other health care providers. We collect information in various ways, such as over the phone, in writing, or in person at the practice. Your information may be collected and handled by both medical and non-medical staff, and medical or nursing students. In an emergency situation we may also need to collect information from your relatives or friends.
We are required by law to retain medical records for a certain period of time depending on your age at the time we provide services to you, and may retain information for longer than the period required by law.
The information we collect is used for:
- Diagnosis and treatment of your problem including communicating with practice staff, specialists and other health care providers involved in your care
- Health care prevention – including recall and reminder systems, which may be sent by sms (please let us know in writing if you wish to opt out of our reminder systems)
- Accreditation and Quality Assurance
- Billing and collection of professional fees
- For work-related or medical-legal reasons
- Student education, teaching and research
Disclosure of your information
Medical care requires full knowledge of patient health information by all members of a medical team. To ensure quality and continuity of patient care, a patient’s information is shared with other doctors, hospitals, pathologists, radiologists, specialists and other health care providers (including those at the KI Health Service and Community Health Service). Your contact details may also be given to other health care providers for the purpose of contacting you about appointments etc. If you wish to exclude certain health providers from this access, you should inform us in writing.
We may also provide your information to disease registers (e.g. cervical, breast, bowel cancer screening etc.) to assist with preventative health management. Please let us know in writing if you wish to opt out.
Doctors may be required by law to disclose your information under certain circumstances, including for medical defence purposes; reporting communicable diseases; to Medicare, government regulatory bodies and hospitals; and under court order, subpoena, search warrant or coroner’s court summons.
We may provide de-identified statistical data to third parties for research purposes. For research purposes, we will gain your consent prior to disclosing any information which identifies you.
We may also disclose information about you to outside contractors to carry out activities on our behalf, such as an IT service provider, solicitor or debt collection agent. We impose security and confidentiality requirements on how they handle your personal information. Outside contractors are required not to use information about you for any purpose except for those activities we have asked them to perform.
Accuracy and security of your information
It is the policy of our practice to maintain accurate and up to date information. There are serious consequences which could result if you do not provide us with accurate information. Withholding information from your health providers, or failing to provide us with enough information to contact you in a timely manner, may put your health or life at risk. Please assist us by informing us if any of your details or circumstances change as soon as possible. For the purpose of keeping the information about you accurate, we may ask you to confirm your details each time you attend the practice.
Your information may be stored in either paper or electronic format. Our practice takes all reasonable steps to protect your information from any loss or unauthorised access, including:
- Securing our premises
- Placing passwords and varying access levels on our databases to limit access and protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification and disclosure
- Storing physical records in staff only and/or locked rooms only
- Not sending clinical information by email or sms, unless you have expressly requested and consented for us to do so.
If you believe any of the information we hold about you is incorrect, please advise us in writing or speak to your doctor.
Access to your information
You have the right to access your information. You can access your information by making a request in writing, or if that is not possible, verbally. You are not required to provide us with a reason for accessing your information, however we will ask you to let us know whether you would like a copy of your entire records, or certain parts of it. Usually information is available within two weeks of your request. Please speak to either your GP or our administration staff to request access to your information.
If you need us to release your information to a third party, or transfer your records to another GP Practice, we will require your authority. Please contact our administration staff to obtain an authority/release form.
There may be legal reasons which prevent us from providing access to your information (for example, where disclosure may cause a serious threat to your health or safety). In these circumstances, we will notify you and let you know why. Under certain circumstances, the doctor may provide you with the opportunity to view your records rather than providing you with a copy.
Children, relatives and other dependants also have a right to privacy, and access by parents, guardians, carers etc. will be determined by legal requirements. If you wish for a parent, guardian, carer or relative to access information such as results on your behalf, we require a written authority.
We reserve the right to charge for reimbursement of our costs incurred to provide you with access to your records, however you will be notified of any cost prior to provision of access.
Overseas transfer of data
We will not transfer your information to an overseas recipient unless we are required to do so by law.
If you have a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, we request that you contact us in writing. Upon receipt of a complaint we will consider the details and attempt to resolve it in accordance with our usual complaints procedures.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of a complaint you may make an application to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (phone 1300 363 992).
Please direct any queries or complaints to Tanya Biddell (Practice Manager)
Phone: 08 8553 2037