PRIVACY POLICY

PURPOSE

The following information explains how personal information about you and your health is recorded and managed in our Mallee Border Health Centre. We also have a written privacy policy describing how we manage personal information. You can receive a copy of our policy free of charge upon request.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

The ‘personal information’ we collect includes your name, date of birth, address/es, contact details, Medicare number, healthcare identifiers and health fund details. Medical information may include medical history and any care you may need. NP’s &GPs need information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high-quality care.

Our health centre follows the guidelines of the RACGP’s Handbook for the management of health information in general practice, 3rd edition (the Handbook). The Handbook incorporates federal and state privacy legislation, and the Australian Privacy Principles, which requires that your personal information is kept private and secure.

YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

This health centre takes steps to ensure that your medical records:

 – are accurate, complete, well-organised and legible
 – are up-to-date
 – contain enough information to allow another NP/GP to care for you
 – contain a summary of your care
 – can be used to remind you, with your permission, to return for follow up, check-ups and reviews.
 – If you are uncertain why information is being requested, please ask your NP/GP.
 – If you wish to remain anonymous while accessing healthcare services, please talk us.

PROVIDING YOUR INFORMATION TO OTHER NPs/GPs

It is normal for all NPs/GPs to have access to your medical records. If you have any concerns about this please discuss them with your NP/GP.

It is important that other people involved in your care, such as medical specialists and other healthcare professionals, are informed of the relevant parts of your medical history, so they can provide the best care for you. Your NP/GP will let you know when this is necessary.

PROVIDING YOUR INFORMATION TO OTHERS

NPs/GPs respect your right to decide how your personal information is used or shared. For example, this may be sharing your health information with specialist doctors. Personal information that identifies you will only be sent to other people with your written consent, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle used by this health centre in using and sharing your information.

Our health centre will not share your personal health information with anyone else or another organisation unless:

 – you have consented to this sharing, or
 – they are legally obliged to disclose the information, in which case your NP/GP will first discuss with you the information that she or he is legally obliged to disclose, or
 – the information is necessary for you to obtain Medicare payments or other health insurance rebates, or
 – there is an overriding public health and safety interest in the release of the information.

In the above cases, only information necessary to meet the requirements will be provided. Your health information will not ordinarily be sent overseas unless:
 – you are informed and provide consent for this to occur, and
 – the overseas country receiving the information has privacy laws that are very similar to the Australian Privacy Principles.

USING HEALTH INFORMATION FOR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT AND RESEARCH

This health centre may use patient health information to assist in improving the quality of care we give to all our patients, by reviewing the treatments used in the practice.

Your information held by the practice may be used in research projects to improve healthcare in the community; however, this information will remain anonymous not include data that can identify you.

The information used for research, including the publication of research results, will not be in a form that would allow you to be identified, unless the research serves an important public interest. In such cases, identifiable medical records can be used for medical research without your consent under guidelines issued by the Australian Government. Before providing such identified information, your NP/GP will discuss with you the information that she or he is obliged to disclose.

SECURITY OF INFORMATIONIN THE HEALTH CENTRE

Australian privacy legislation applies to all personal health information recorded in electronic and paper records. All records must be kept secure to protect against unauthorised access. This practice complies with these requirements to protect your information.