South Eastern Specialist Centre is 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).
In this policy ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’, refers to South Eastern Specialist Centre.
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our doctors 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 business processes (eg 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 or DVA number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
- healthcare identifiers
- health fund details.
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 or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment 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 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 other healthcare providers
- when it is required or authorised by law (eg 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 eTP, My Health Record (eg 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 various forms including paper records, electronic records, audio recordings, etc.
Our practice stores all personal information securely, and has strict protocols and policies to ensure your personal information is protected from misuse, loss, interference or unauthorised access.
Electronic format is encrypted and password protected.
Hard copy records and information is stored in a secure locked room.
The premises are alarm protected.
We have multiple backups to ensure data recovery if required.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 via our website or send us an email to email@example.com. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure.
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.
Privacy and our website
When you visit our website, Google Analytics, a website analytics service provided by Google, Inc (“Google”), will place cookies on your computer’s browser. A cookie is a small text file that is sent by a website to your computer or mobile device where it is stored by your web browser. A cookie contains limited non-personal data, usually a unique identifier and the name of the site. This enables a website to recognise you as you move around the site and/or each time you revisit.
Policy review statement
This Policy may change from time to time and is available on our website.