Medicrew recognises the importance of privacy and confidentiality protection for all our patients and ensures you (patients who receive care from the Practice) are comfortable in entrusting your health information to the Practice. This policy provides information as to how your personal information (which includes health information) is collected and used by us (Medicrew), and the circumstances in which we may disclose it to third parties.
RACGP Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles: an addendum to the computer and information security standards (Second edition).
Background and Rationale
The Australian Privacy Principles (APP) provide a privacy protection framework that supports the rights and obligations of collecting, holding, using, accessing and correcting personal information. The APP (see link from the Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) consist of 13 principle-based laws and apply equally to paper-based and digital environments. The APP complement the long-standing general practice obligation to manage personal information in a regulated, open and transparent manner:
This policy will guide Practice Staff in meeting these legal obligations. It also details how the Practice uses your personal information. The policy can be found on our website or can be provided to you as a hard copy.
Practice Policy & Procedure
- provide a copy of this policy upon request
- ensure staff comply with the APP and deal appropriately with inquiries or concerns
- take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to implement practices, procedures and systems to ensure compliance with the APP and deal with inquiries or complaints
- collect personal information for the primary purpose of managing a patient’s healthcare and for financial claims and payments
Our staff will take reasonable steps to ensure patients understand:
- what information has been and is being collected
- why the information is being collected, and whether this is due to a legal requirement
- how the information will be used or disclosed
- why and when your consent is necessary
- our procedures for access and correction of information, and responding to complaints of information breaches, including by providing this policy
We will only interpret and apply your consent for the primary purpose for which it was provided. Our staff will seek additional consent from you if the personal information collected may be used for any other purpose.
Collection of Information
We will need to collect personal information as a provision of clinical services to a patient at the practice. Collected personal information will include your:
- name/s, addresses and contact details
- Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
- healthcare identifiers
- medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
Your personal information may be held by us in various forms:
- as electronic records (primarily)
- as paper records
- as visual – x-rays, CT scans, videos and photos
- as audio recordings
Our procedure for collecting personal information is set out below.
1. Our staff collects patients’ personal and demographic information via registration when patients present to us for the first time. You are encouraged to pay attention to the collection statement attached to / within the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy.
2. During the course of providing medical services, our clinicians will consequently collect further personal information.
3. Personal information may also be collected from the patient’s guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or from any other involved healthcare specialists.
We hold all personal information securely and generally in electronic format through “Best Practice” software using password protected information systems. All hard copy records sent will be stored in electronic format and securely destroyed.
Use and Disclosure of Information
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 by or for the Practice for business purposes, such as accreditation or for the provision of information technology. These third parties are required to comply with this policy. We will inform you where there is a statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information; some diseases require mandatory notification – for a full list see the Queensland Health website:
The Practice 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. The Practice 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
We will not use any personal information in relation to direct marketing to a patient without your express consent. You may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying us in writing.
Requests for Prescriptions & Referrals
Our practice has a policy that requires all patients to be seen by a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner for prescriptions and referrals.
Our practice is committed to palliative care. Your Doctor will seek your permission to be included in our reminder system. We may issue you with a reminder notice from time to time offering you preventative health services appropriate to your care. If you do not wish to be part of this system please let your Doctor or receptionist know and you will be removed.
Results for Tests / Procedures
Your Doctor will advise you when your test results are expected to be ready. You will then need to arrange an appointment to discuss your results for any requested test. Please Note: We are unable to give results over the phone due to privacy and confidentiality.
GPs in the practice may be contacted during working hours. If the GP is with a patient, a message will be taken and the reception staff will advise you when it is likely that the GP will return your call. In an emergency your call will always be put through to a GP or Nurse.
Access, Corrections and Privacy Concerns
Medicrew acknowledges that patients may request access to their medical records. Patients are encouraged to make this request in writing, and we will respond within a reasonable time.
Medicrew will take reasonable steps to correct personal information where we are satisfied it is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask patients to verify that the personal information held by us is correct and up to date. Patients may also request the Practice corrects or updates their information, and patients should make such requests in writing.
Medicrew takes complaints and concerns about the privacy of patients’ personal information seriously. Patients should express any privacy concerns in writing. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our complaint resolution procedure.
If you wish to discuss this policy, lodge a complaint regarding breach of privacy, access your information held by us, correct any of your information held by us or find out more about how we handle personal information, please contact Medicrew Inquiries:
If you have a concern or complaint about a health service provided to you, a family member, or someone in your care, you can write to or speak with our Practice Manager – this is often the quickest and easiest way to address your concerns or fix a problem. When making a health service complaint, it’s important you include as much information as you can.
If you are not satisfied, you can contact the Office of the Health Ombudsman on 133 OHO (133 646), Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or via their website http://www.oho.qld.gov.au/
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