We are committed to protecting the privacy of patient information and to handling your personal information in a responsible manner in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, the Australian Privacy Principles and relevant State and Territory privacy legislation (referred to as privacy legislation).
We collect information that is necessary and relevant to provide you with medical care and treatment, and manage our medical practice. This information may include your name, address, date of birth, gender, health information, family history and contact details. This information is stored on our computer medical records system.
Wherever practicable 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 or in writing, in person in our practice or over the internet if you transact with us online. This information may be collected by our medical or non-medical staff.
In emergency situations we may also need to collect information from your relatives or friends.
We are required by law to retain medical records for certain periods of time depending on your age at the time we provide services.
Use and Disclosure
As every patient is aware, it is necessary for us to maintain files pertaining to your health. These files contain the following information:
- Personal details
- Medical history
- Notes made during medical consultations
- Referrals to other health providers
- Results and reports
Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. The file will be accessed by your medical practitioner, and where necessary by other practitioners in the practice. It will also be necessary for our staff to handle your file to address the administrative requirements of running a medical practice. We will treat your personal information as strictly private and confidential. We will only use or disclose it for purposes directly related to your care and treatment, or in ways that you would reasonably expect that we may use if for your ongoing care and treatment. For example, the disclosure of blood test results to your specialists or requests for x-rays. A very small number of Hunter New England employees will have access to our records for the purpose of providing integrated care. They will only access essential information of patients whom are being co-managed by both our services for the purpose of that management. These employees are bound by a confidentiality agreement.
We may 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.
Data Quality and Security
We will take reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is accurate , complete, up to date and relevant. For this purpose our staff may ask you to confirm that your contact details are correct when you attend a consultation. We request that you let us know if any of the information we hold about you is incorrect or out of date.
Personal information that we hold is protected by:
- Securing our premises;
- Placing passwords and varying access levels on databases to limit access and protect electronic information from unauthorised interference, access, modification and disclosure; and
- Remaining Paper records predating 2000 are stored in a locked archive off the premises.
If you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete of up to date, we ask that you contact us in writing (see details below).
You are entitled to request access to your medical records. Should you wish to access this information we request that you put your request in writing and we will respond to it within a reasonable time. We refer to our handout entitled “accessing your medical record”. There may be a fee for the administrative costs of retrieving and providing you with copies of your medical records.
We may deny access to your medical records in certain circumstances permitted by law, for example, if disclosure may cause a serious threat to your health or safety. We will always tell you why access is denied and the options you have to respond to our decision.
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 complaints handling procedures.
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of a complaint or the outcome you may make an application to the Australian Information Commissioner or the Privacy Commissioner in your State or Territory.
Overseas Transfer of Data
We will not transfer your personal information to an overseas recipient unless we have your consent or we are required to do so by law.
Please direct any queries, complaints, requests for access to medical records to:
Raymond Terrace Family Practice
PO Box 4
Raymond Terrace NSW 2324