Park Medical Consulting Rooms (PMCR) is committed to protecting the privacy of patient information and to handling your personal information in a responsible manner in accordance Australian Commonwealth and New South Wales state legislation. This Privacy Policy explains how we may collect, use and disclose your personal information, how you may access that information and how you may seek the correction of any information.  It also explains how you may make a complaint about a breach of privacy legislation.

Collection

We collect information that is necessary and relevant to provide you with high quality medical care and treatment and manage our consulting rooms. 

Patient files may contain: 

  • Personal details – eg name, address, contact phone numbers, date of birth, gender, emergency contact details,
  • Your Medicare, Veterans Affairs, Health Care Card or Pension and Health Fund number
  • Your medical history including where relevant, family history
  • Notes made during the course of all consultations
  • Records of relevant communications with you
  • Referrals to other health service providers
  • Results, reports and correspondence received from health services.

This information may be stored on our computer system.

Wherever practicable we will only collect information from you personally. 

We may also collect personal information from third parties including:

  • By referral from your general practitioner
  • By referral from a other medical practitioner or allied health professional
  • From health service providers to and from who you are referred
  • From third party bodies provided on the patient’s behalf with the patient consent. This could be insurance or government agencies.

In emergency situations, we may also need to collect information from your relatives or friends. 

We collect information in various ways, verbally (by phone and in person), written or over the internet if you choose to interact with us online.  This information may be collected by medical and non-medical staff.

Use and Disclosure

We will treat your personal information as strictly private and confidential.  Personal information will only be used for the purpose of providing medical services and for claims and payments, unless otherwise consented to.

Some disclosure may occur to third parties engaged in doing business with the practitioners or Park Medical Consulting Rooms.  Examples of such are an Information Technology service provider, solicitor or debt collection agency.  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 and are required to comply with this policy.

We will not disclose personal information to any third party other than in the course of providing medical services, without full disclosure to the patient or the recipient, the reason for the information transfer and full consent from the patient. 

We will not disclose personal information to anyone outside Australia without need and without patient consent.

Exceptions to disclose without patient consent are where the information is:

  • Required by law
  • 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 a confidential dispute resolution process.

Anonymity and Pseudonymity

A patient has the right to be dealt with anonymously or under a pseudonym, provided that this is lawful and practical.  However, in the health context this is unlikely to be practical and may in some circumstances be dangerous to the person’s health.

Data Quality and Accuracy

We are committed to ensuring your information is accurate and have processes in place to ensure that the accuracy of this information is maintained.  For this purpose our staff may ask you to confirm that your details are correct.  If you believe that the personal information about you is inaccurate, please inform the reception staff when next attending.

Security

As part of our commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the information contained in your medical record we advise that strict secure storage policies ae observed in this practice.  Your electronic records are accessible only by staff of this practice and are protected on several levels and regular backups of data are performed.  Your paper records, if applicable, are accessible only by practice staff.  Each member of staff is well versed in the principles and importance of practitioner/patient confidentiality.  All staff and contractors sign confidentiality agreements to ensure your privacy.

Medical records are kept, as required by law, for a minimum of seven years from the date of last contact, unless the patient is/was a child, in which case the record must be kept until the patient reaches the age of 25 years of age.

Other than as described in this policy or permitted under privacy principles, we endeavor to ensure that identifying health information is not disclosed to any person unnecessarily or irresponsibly.

Accessing Your Information

Patients may request access to their personal health information.  We ask that you put your request in writing.  Access may be granted and if so an appointment would be made with your practitioner separate to your consultation. There will be a fee charged which is not claimable under Medicare or your Health Fund. 

There are some circumstances in which access will be restricted or denied and the reason for this will be explained.  For example, if disclosure may cause a serious threat to your health or safety.

Children and young people also have a right to privacy.  Based on the professional judgement of the practitioner and consistent with the law, it might be necessary to restrict access to personal health information to parents or guardians.

To protect your privacy, patients wishing to access their information will be asked to sign a consent form and provide photo identification.

Transferring Your Care

Patients have the right to attend practitioner of their choice and are free to consult another practitioner if they wish.

For medico-legal reasons, we retain the original record and we provide the new treating practitioner with a summary or copy.

To protect your privacy you will be asked to complete a transfer of record form and provide photo identification.

Complaints

The best way to deal effectively with concerns and complaints is to communicate openly and respectfully.  This often reduces the likelihood of the problem escalating and becoming more difficult to deal with.  The treating practitioner can allay concerns and complaints at a local level.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our Privacy Policy, and satisfaction is not gained through consultation with us, you may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who can be contacted at:

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218

SYDNEY  NSW  2000

Privacy Hotline:  1300 363 992

 

References

Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)

www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2015C00089

Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012

www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2012A00197

Australian Privacy Principles

www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/australian-privacy-principles

State Privacy Legislation

www.ipc.nsw.gov.au/privacy-laws

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

www.oaic.gov.au

Information and Privacy Commission NSW

www.ipc.nsw.gov.au

NSW Health Care Complaints Commission

www.hccc.nsw.gov.au

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