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Privacy Policy

Introduction

This privacy policy is to provide information to you, our patient, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within our practice, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties. 

Why and when your consent is necessary 

When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs 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 accreditation, 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, cultural identity
  • medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors 
  • Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes and Centrelink or DVA numbers if appropriate
  • 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.

  1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration. Additional information, including medical history information, will be collected at your initial visit.
  2. Our practice also supports eHealth services, such as the My Health Record program. Your participation in the My Health Record program is voluntary. We will only access and/contribute to your My Health Record with your consent, unless required in a medical emergency.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 the Australian Privacy Principles and with this policy 
  • with other healthcare providers (eg when we refer you for specialist services)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • through participation in the My Health Record program (eg sharing Health Summaries or Event Summaries in your personal My Health Record)

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 or advertising any products or services. As part of our practice’s commitment to keeping you well through preventive health care, we may, from time to time, send you reminders for routine health services that are recommended for your ongoing health care, such as flu vaccination or age-specific health checks. You may, at any time, opt-out of our healthcare reminder system by notifying us in writing. 

How do we store and protect your personal information?

Your personal information is stored securely within our practice’s electronic clinical software program. From time to time we may also hold physical records (such as correspondence, x-rays, scans) but once these are transferred to your electronic record they are securely destroyed or returned to you. While held by the practice these paper records are stored securely and only accessible by practice staff.

All patient personal information stored within our electronic clinical software program is protected and secured in accordance with the RACGP’s Computer and Information Security Standards. All computers are password protected and have automatic screen-savers activated. All practice staff are aware of and educated in privacy and confidentiality policies including the Australian Privacy Principles and all staff and contractors have signed confidentiality agreements.

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. We require you to request this in writing using our Access Request Formand our practice will respond within a reasonable time (usually within 30 days). There may be a non-rebatable private fee associated with such access to cover the cost of any review, retrieval, copying and/or postage of documents. Where it is considered that access to such information places you or another at risk of harm, access may be denied, as allowed under the Privacy Act, however you will be given an explanation and alternate options considered, as appropriate.  

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 request that we correct or update your information verbally or in writing (including email, if appropriate).

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. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. Please allow up to 30 days for us to respond to your concern.

Email:   admin@kotarafamilypractice.com.au

Post:    PO Box 256, Kotara NSW 2289

Phone:(02) 4956 0888

You may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (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 / social media

Our practice has an active website page and Facebook presence. Our website may, from time to time, use cookies. Cookies are very small files that interact with your computer to provide us with information about how people use our site and to improve the functionality of our site. Cookies are not malicious programs and cannot damage your computer. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies but if you do not wish to accept cookies you can change your cookie preferences in your browser settings. However, rejecting cookies may prevent you from taking full advantage of our website. 

Our website includes links to other websites not owned or controlled by us. These links are meant for your convenience to access useful health information only. The links listed on our page do not constitute sponsorship or endorsement of these websites and we are in no way responsible for the privacy practices of other such websites. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the privacy policy of any website you access from our site. 

If you contact us via email directly through our website contact form, you are providing us with your email address and name (you also have the option to provide contact phone numbers and a personal message). The information you provide in this manner will only be used and retained for the purpose of assisting you with your enquiry. 

Policy review

Our privacy policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is in accordance with any changes that may occur at a practice or legislative level. Any amended policy will be posted on our website and copies will be available at the practice for patients to access.