We are an APP Entity defined in the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth) (the “Act”). We respect your rights to privacy and have a legal obligation to abide by the provisions of this Act. The rules that an organisation must follow under the act are known as The Australian Privacy Principles, and cover areas of including the collection, use, disclosure, quality and security of personal information. Our clinics are also governed by a number of State-specific privacy laws.
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient at our practice, you provide consent from our GP’s 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.
Why do we collect, use and 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 and hold?
We may collect the following types of personal information:-
- your name, address and telephone number;
- your age and date of birth;
- your Medicare number, Veterans’ Affairs number, Health Care Card, Health fund details or Pension number;
- current drugs or treatments used by you;
- information relevant to your medical care, including but not limited to your previous and current medical history and your family medical history (where clinically relevant);
- your ethic background;
- your profession, occupation or job title;
- the name of any health service provider or medical specialist to whom you are referred, copies of letters of referrals and copies of any reports back; and
- any additional information relating to you that you provide to us directly through our representatives, medical or allied health professionals providing services at or from our clinics
We may also collect some information that is not personal information because it does not identify you or anyone else. For example we may collect anonymous answers to surveys or aggregated information about how users use our website.
Dealing with us anonymously
You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect your personal information directly from you unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so. When collecting personal information from you we may collect it in ways including:
- when you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
- by completing our new patient registration form
- during the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information.
- we may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment via HotDoc or communicate with us using social media.
- 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 Veteran’s Affairs (as necessary).
- from your employer or prospective employer; or
- from third party bodies such as law enforcement agencies and other government entities
For what purpose to we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information?
We collect personal information about you so that we can perform our business activities and functions and to provide the best possible quality healthcare to you.
We collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:
- to provide medical services and treatment to you, and to enable you to be attended by medical practitioners or other allied health professionals at our clinics;
- for administrative and billing purposes;
- to update our records and keep your contact details up to date;
- to process and respond to any complaint made by you;
- to comply with any law, rule, regulation, lawful and binding determination, decision or direction of a regulator, or in co-operation with any governmental authority;
- for the purposes of data research and analysis including conducting clinical trials and proactive screenings and for the purpose of sending you direct marketing communications in relation to these. All information held by the practice may be used in research projects, but will not include data that can identify you;
- for inclusion in a recall register to be advised of follow up visits and medical updates;
- for the purpose of reporting back to your employer or prospective employer, their authorised representatives and their insurer in the case of a work-related consultation or service;
- to answer enquiries and provide information or advice about existing and new products or services and all matters relevant to the services we provide to you;
- to conduct business processing functions including providing personal information to our service providers or other third parties;
- for the administrative, marketing (including direct marketing), planning, product or service development, quality control and research purposes, its contractors or service providers; and
- to meet obligations of notification to our medical defence organisations or insurers.
Who do we share your personal information with?
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 authorized by law (e.g. 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, through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), My Health Record/PCEHR system (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people that 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.
We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.
Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.
Direct Marketing Materials
We may send you direct marketing communications and information about our products and services that we consider may be of interest to you. These communications may be sent in various forms, including mail, SMS, fax and email, in accordance with all applicable marketing laws, such as the Spam Act 2003 (Cth). If, in your dealings with us, you indicate a preference for a method of communication, we will endeavour to use that method whenever practical to do so. In addition, at any time you may opt-out of receiving marketing communications from us by contacting us or by using opt-out facilities provided in the marketing communications and we will then ensure that your name is removed from our mailing list.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
We take reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is protected from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms, such as paper records, electronic records, x-rays, CT Scans and photographs. We will obtain specific consent if photographs are to be stored.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. All computers are password protected, access to our clinical software requires an alternate password, computer records are backed up securely, and all staff and contractors have signed confidentiality agreements.
Personal information is destroyed or de-identified when no longer needed.
Personal information may be stored electronically through third party data centres or in physical storage at our premises
As our website is linked to the internet, and the internet is inherently insecure, we cannot provide any assurance regarding the security of transmission of information you communicate to us online. We also cannot guarantee that the information you supply will not be intercepted while being transmitted over the internet i.e. email. Accordingly, any personal information or other information which you transmit to us online is transmitted at your own risk.
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 our practice will respond within a reasonable time, i.e. no longer than 30 days. We may charge you a fee to cover our administrative and other reasonable costs in providing the information to you. We will not charge for simply making the request and will not charge for making any corrections to your personal information. There may be instances where we cannot grant you access to the personal information we hold; however, we will only do so in accordance with our rights and obligations under the Act. For example, we may need to refuse access if granting access would interfere with the privacy of others or if it would result in a breach of confidentiality. If that happens, we will give you written reasons for any refusal.
If you believe that personal information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may send a written request to the Practice Manager, Susan Hennig, including the basis on which you are requesting the amendment. We will consider if the information requires amendment. If we do not agree that there are grounds for amendment then we will add a note to the personal information stating that you disagree with it. For legal reasons, the original notes will be retained.
From time-to-time, we will ask you to verify your personal information held by our practice is correct and up-to-date.
Privacy and our website
Notifiable Data Breaches
If we have reason to suspect a data breach has occurred, we will undertake an assessment in accordance with the notifiable data breach scheme. If we determine there has been an eligible data breach, we will notify you as soon as reasonably practicable. We are required to notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
If the breach relates to the My Health Records Act we may disclose your personal information to the My Health Records System Operator under s 73A of that Act.
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, addressed to the Practice Manager/Your doctor, 517 Regency Road, Sefton Park SA 5083. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure.
You may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (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 336 002. Alternatively, you can contact Privacy Committee of SA on 08 8204 8786, Health and Community Services complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) 08 8226 8666.
Policy review statement
This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis.
This policy is current as of 23/10/2020