PRIVACY POLICY

 

Introduction

Patient privacy is very important to Parkside Family Practice. We respect the rights of patients and ensure all personal and patient health information remains private the confidential. Your personal health information refers to information pertaining to your health, medical history, past and future medical care.

Parkside Family Practice is bound by the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles in collecting, maintaining and storing personal health information in a private and secure manner.

 

Patient consent

All new patients to Parkside Family Practice are requested to read and sign their consent to the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information. Refusing to sign the consent form may compromise the quality of healthcare and treatment given. The consent form reflects the information contained within our Privacy Policy.

 

Information collection

Parkside Family Practice may collect the following personal information from its patients:

  • Identifying and contact information including, but not limited to: full name, date of birth, residential address, postal address, contact phone number(s) and email address
  • Health information, including, but not limited to: current and past medical history and any new health information
  • Other information including: racial/ ethnic origin, sexual practices, philosophical beliefs and lifestyle factors
  • Financial information such as account history and billing

Parkside Family Practice will collect information from third-party health care providers for the purposes pertaining to continuity of care. Third-party providers may include: specialists, medical laboratories, hospitals, allied health professionals, pathology and diagnostic imaging etc.

Parkside Family Practice will retain all personal health information collected for a minimum of seven (7) years following the patients’ last interaction with Parkside Family Practice, as required by law.

The destruction of any personal health information will be conducted by an accredited third-party provider.

 

Disclosure of personal health information?

Parkside Family Practice will not disclose personal health information to a third-party unless:

  • The patient has consented to the disclosure
  • In accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) the disclosure is to a responsible carer of that person, as in the case of a child, or if the person in question is physically or legally incapable of giving consent to the disclosure, or for compassionate reasons, unless there is good evidence of the persons wish to the contrary
  • Parkside Family Practice is legally obliged to disclose information (e.g. notification of certain infectious diseases, suspected child abuse etc.
  • Disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious or imminent threat to an individuals life, health or safety or to prevent a criminal offence or serious improper conduct
  • It is required for judicial or administrative or coroner proceedings or is required under a court order or subpoena
  • It is the subject of a search warrant or is required to identify or locate a missing person
  • It is required to facilitate organ donation.

Parkside Family Practice may be required to disclose personal health information to third-parties overseas where a patient is in need of urgent medical assistance, or where medical evacuation is required.

Parkside Family Practice will take all reasonable steps to ensure that information disclosed to an international third-party is protected and treated as confidential.

Parkside Family Practice will use patient demographic and health information for:

  • Communication regarding treatments and notifications about recommended preventative health care services
  • Accounting and billing
  • The diagnosis and treatment of any health conditions, including other healthcare practitioners to ensure quality patient care.
  • Research, accreditation and quality assurance activities, using de-identified aggregate patient health information
  • To allow medical students and staff to participate in medical training and teaching using de-identified information

 

How do we collect your personal information?

Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.

  1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
  2. During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. The practice participates in uploading Shared Health Summaries with your consent.
  3. 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).

 

How do we store and protect your personal information?

Parkside Family Practice retains all date collected in an electronic format and has systems in place to protect the privacy, security, quality and integrity of the data.

Parkside Family Practice takes all reasonable steps to ensure data security, including, but not limited to:

  • Physical security of hardware and software
  • Web servers connected to the internet are protected by appropriate hardware/ software firewalls
  • Computers are protected by antivirus software that is installed and updated frequently
  • Servers are backed up and checked at frequent intervals and stored in a secure environment.

 

Access to Personal Health Information

All healthcare practitioners at Parkside Family Practice have access to personal health information contained within the practice’s clinical management system to ensure optimal management and care us delivered to all patients.

All healthcare practitioners and administrative staff have access to patient demographic and financial account details.

 

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?

Patients of Parkside Family Practice are able to request access to their personal health information stored at Parkside Family Practice.

Request to access personal health information should be made in writing to our Privacy Officer, Dr Gordon Eckert.

It is at the discretion of the patient’s primary General Practitioner to provide the patient with either an up-to-date summary of their medical history, or a copy of all their personal health information.

Parkside Family Practice will not be required to provide patient access to their personal health information where:

  • Parkside Family Practice reasonably believes that giving access would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of an individual, or to public health or safety; or
  • The request for access of frivolous or vexatious; or
  • The information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings, and would not be accessible by the process of discover in those proceedings; or
  • Giving access would reveal the intentions of Parkside Family Practice in relation to negotiations with the individual in such a way as to prejudice those negotiations; or
  • Giving access would be unlawful; or
  • Denying access is require or authorized by or under an Australian law or a court/ tribunal order; or
  • Both the following apply:
    • Parkside Family Practice has reason to suspect that unlawful activity or misconduct of a serious nature, that related to the entity’s function or activities has been, is being or may be engaged in:
    • Giving access would be likely to prejudice the taking of appropriate action in relation to the matter; or
  • Giving access would likely to prejudice one or more enforcement related activities conducted by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body; or
  • Giving access would reveal evaluative information generated within the entity in connection with a commercially sensitive decision-making process

On receiving a written request to access personal health information, Parkside Family Practice will respond within a reasonable period. Parkside Family Practice will provide the patient with access to the information in the manner requested by the individual, if it is reasonable and practicable to do so.

If Parkside Family Practice refuses to grant access to the patient’s personal health information requested, or give access in the form requested, Parkside Family Practice will provide written notices that sets out:

  • The reasons for the refusal (except where disclosure of the reasons would be inappropriate); and
  • The mechanisms available to complain about the refusal

As per the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (Cth), Parkside Family Practice reserves the right to charge a reasonable administration fee to complete a request for access to personal health information.

 

Correction of personal information

Parkside Family Practice endeavours to keep all patient information collected up-to-date, accurate and complete for the duration of its active use.

It is a patient’s obligation to notify Parkside Family Practice of any changes to their contact details.

If a patient becomes aware that their personal information held by Parkside Family Practice is incorrect, the patient has the ability to request a correction of the information.

Requests to change personal contact information should be directed to the Practice Manager. Requests to change personal health information should be directed to the patient’s primary General Practitioner.

If Parkside Family Practice refuses to correct the information corrected by the patient, Parkside Family Practice will provide written notice that sets out:

  • The reasons for the refusal, except to the extent that it would be unreasonable to do so; and
  • The mechanisms available to complain about the refusal.

Parkside Family Practice will make every reasonable effort to notify a third-party if information provided to them by Parkside Family Practice is found to be incorrect.

There is no charge to the patient for requesting the correction of personal information.

 

Complaints process

We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. If a patient has a complaint about any action of Parkside Family Practice arising out of this policy, or any other issue arising under the Australian Privacy Principles, the patient must submit a complaint in writing to the Privacy Officer, Dr Gordon Eckert, within 6 months of the issue arising.

The Privacy Officer will respond to the complaint within 14 days after receiving the complaint.

Policy review statement

The Privacy Policy is updated regularly in line with any changes to the Privacy legislation, regulations and Australian Privacy Principles. A current policy is available on our website and from reception.