Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs 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. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.
Why do we collect, use, 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 (e.g. staff training).
What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
- names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
- medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
- Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes, Veterans’ Affairs number, Health Care Card number or pension number
- healthcare identifiers
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?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
- When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
- 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, telephone us, make an online appointment.
- 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 Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).
When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?
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 third party requests by organisations such as insurance companies & lawyers. Such requests can occur when you are making an insurance claim on a policy, when you are applying for a new policy or have engaged a legal representative to act on your behalf. Such disclosure is only made when you provide an authorisation (may be an electronic signature) to the insurance company or lawyer for us to release information. Often such requests are for the whole medical record and may include information that is not directly related to your claim.
- Workers compensation matters. When you have a claim under works compensation, it is a legal requirement that any treating doctor who writes work cover medical certificates for you must provide information when requested, to the workers compensation organisation. This may be done verbally, in written report or with provision of part or whole medical records.
- with other healthcare providers
- when it is required or authorised 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 (e.g. some diseases require mandatory notification)
- during the course of providing medical services, through eTP, My Health Record (e.g. via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people who 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.
Our practice may use your personal information to improve the quality of the services we offer to our patients through research and analysis of our patient data.
We may provide de-identified data to other organisations to improve population health outcomes. The information is secure, patients cannot be identified and the information is stored within Australia. You can let our reception staff know if you do not want your information included.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in electronic records, paper records, visual records (X-rays, CT scans, videos and photos)
Our practice stores all personal information securely to ensure your personal information is protected.
Electronic records are password protected. Different levels of authority are assigned to each staff member and doctors as to what information can be accessed. The doctors have full accessed whereas clerical staff have limited access. Our IT environment has antivirus software and several fire walls in place and undertakes continuous monitoring our IT service provider to protect the information we have stored.
Hard Copy formats are stored within a secure environment. Records are not left in public or unauthorised areas of the Practice. Hard copy records are only retrieved by authorised Practice staff and are secured when the practice is closed.
Some information such as mailed correspondence, faxed correspondence, etc. may be held as a ‘hard copy’ record which is stored in a secure area prior to being scanned to an electronic record. This paper record is held in a secure area for a maximum duration of 1 month after which it is destroyed by secure shredding.
Doctors and staff working at Woodlands Family Practice are required to sign a confidentiality agreement at the commencement of working within the practice, the agreement states that it is an immediate dismissal if there is a breach of privacy. Doctors & staff are also given training in this area at induction, so that they understand how to protect your privacy.
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 prefer you to put this request in writing on a ‘request for personal health information’ form and our practice will respond within a reasonable time (30 days). An administration fee may be associated with providing this information if applicable (e.g. a large printed file) – these must not be excessive. Patients will not be charged for making a request – only for the costs of complying with the request.
Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to the Privacy Officer, Clarissa Connors: firstname.lastname@example.org or to your treating doctor.
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. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. We encourage you to include your mailing address and contact number to allow a response to be received within 30 days, as per our complaint handling process.
The Privacy Officer
Woodlands Family Practice
82 Rosewood Avenue
Woodlands WA 6018
You may also contact the 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 363 992.
You may also contact Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) & Enquiries Line: (08) 6551 7600 or Level 2, 469 Wellington St, Perth 6000
Privacy and our website
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. Accordingly, any personal information or other information which you transmit to us online is transmitted at your own risk.
Policy review statement
This privacy statement will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is in accordance with any changes that may occur.
Last policy review date: October 2022