Chinchilla Medical Practice takes privacy and management of health information seriously. The purpose of this brochure is to outline our policy, explain how it affects patients and advise how your personal details are used and protected. The Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principals apply to the collection, use and disclosure of an individual’s personal information relating to companies and businesses.
Why we collect your personal information
We start the process of collecting information when you attend the practice as a new patient. We ask you to complete our patient information and medical history form. This gives us the base information we need to enable us to contact you, to assist with claims to Medicare Australia and to help the doctor to understand your medical history. 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’:
- Names, addresses and contact details
- Medicare number (where applicable)
- Healthcare Identifiers
- Medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors.
It is necessary for us to collect this information to enable us to provide the highest standard of health care and related services to you our patient.
A patient’s personal information may be held at the Practice in Various Forms:
- As paper Records
- As electronic Records
- As Visual – X-Rays, CT Scans, Videos and photos
- As Audio Recordings
How we collect your personal information
The Practice’s procedure for collecting personal information is:
- Practice staff collects patients’ personal and demographic information via registration when patients present to the practice for the first time. Patients are encouraged to pay attention to the collection statement attached to/within the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy.
- During the course of providing medical services, the practices healthcare practitioners will consequently collect further information.
- Personal information may also be collected from the patients guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or any other involved healthcare specialists.
The practice holds all personal information securely, whether in electronic format, in protected information systems or in hard copy format in a secured environment.
Historically we maintained paper records, most of which have now been scanned onto your computer file. Those paper records that are still maintained are retained in a secure environment to which there is no public access.
Policies and procedures are in places which are designed to prevent misuse of patient information; all staff and visitors working at the practice are required to sign a confidentiality statement, receive training and are monitored for their understanding and implementation of these policies and procedures. Any breach will be treated as a serious offence and will be subject to disciplinary action which could lead to dismissal.
Use and disclosure of information
Personal information will only be used for the purpose of providing medical services and for claims and payments, unless other wise 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. These third parties are required to apply with this policy. The practice will inform the patient where there is statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information (for example, some diseases require mandatory notification). We do not email any patient records as we do not have a secure email line. Sms appointment reminders are sent out only with your consent.
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 the full consent of 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:
- Required by law
- Necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patients life, health or safety or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patients consent
- To assist in locating a missing person
- To establish, exercise or defend equitable claim
- For the purpose of a confidential dispute resolution process
What happens when you no longer visit this practice?
Should you move from the area or move to another practice any paper record held in your name will be retained until you reach 21 years of age or for a minimum of 7 years which ever is the longer. When this time has passed, the paper records are either burnt or shredded. Electronic records are archived within our computer system.
Access to personal and health information
To access your record from this practice, a request for access form must be completed which is available from reception. A nominal fee may be payable to cover administrative and stationery costs and it is our normal practice that patients consult with their doctor who can then explain in more detail the medical information held.
The doctors can refuse patient access to their personal health information in the following circumstances
- providing access would pose a serious threat to the life or health of any individual
- providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals
- the request for access is frivolous or vexatious or
- denying access is required or authorised by law
Privacy related complaints
Should you wish to complain about our medical services or any other related matter, you are asked to contact the practice manager, preferably in writing to ensure the facts from your point of view are set out clearly, stating the nature of the complaint, details and any action taken by you at the time. The practice manager will acknowledge the complaint and where the nature is such that it must be put before the principals of the practice it will be taken to the next practice meeting. All complaints will be investigated and responded to within 30 days. You have the right to contact the Health Quality & Complaints commission, should you not be satisfied at local level. Their contact details are GPO Box 3089, Brisbane, QLD, 4001. Toll free 1800 077 308. www.hqcc.qld.gov.au
Quality of information held
The practice will take reasonable steps to correct personal information where it is satisfied they are not accurate or up to date. From time to time, the practice will ask patients to verify the personal information held by the practice is correct and up to date. In order for us to help you and to provide the level of service that you should expect, please ensure you advise us of any change of address or telephone number. If you do not provide this information to us it may impede our ability to provide the required health care services.