Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of information we collect. This practice has developed a policy to protect patient privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘the Privacy Act’). Our policy is to inform you of:
- the kinds of information that we collect and hold, which, as a medical practice, is likely to be ‘health information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act;
- how we collect and hold personal information;
- the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
- how you may access your personal information and seek the correction of that information;
- how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint; and whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients.
2. What kinds of personal information do we collect?
The type of information we may collect and hold includes:
- Your name, address, date of birth, email and contact details
- Medicare number, DVA number and other government identifiers, although we will not use these for the purposes of identifying you in our practice
- Other health information about you, including:
- notes of your symptoms or diagnosis and the treatment given to you
- your specialist reports and test results
- your appointment and billing details
- your prescriptions and other pharmaceutical purchases
- your genetic information
- your healthcare identifier
- any other information about your race, sexuality or religion, when collected by a health service provider.
3. How do we collect and hold personal information?
We will generally collect personal information:
- from you directly when you provide your details to us. This might be via a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, registration form or online form
- from a person responsible for you
- from third parties where the Privacy Act or other law allows it - this may include, but is not limited to: other members of your treating team, diagnostic centres, specialists, hospitals, the My Health Record system, electronic prescription services, Medicare, your health insurer, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
4. Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?
In general, we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:
- to provide health services to you
- to communicate with you in relation to the health service being provided to you
- to comply with our legal obligations, including, but not limited to, mandatory notification of communicable diseases or mandatory reporting under applicable child protection legislation
- to help us manage our accounts and administrative services, including billing, arrangements with health funds, pursuing unpaid accounts, management of our ITC systems
- for consultations with other doctors and allied health professional involved in your healthcare
- to obtain, analyse and discuss test results from diagnostic and pathology laboratories
- for identification and insurance claiming
- If you have a My Health Record, to upload your personal information to, and download your personal information from, the My Health Record system
- Information can also be disclosed through an electronic transfer of prescriptions service
- To liaise with your health fund, government and regulatory bodies such as Medicare, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (if you make a privacy complaint to the OAIC), as necessary
5. How can you access and correct your personal information?
6. How do we hold your personal information?
Our staff are trained and required to respect and protect your privacy. We take reasonable steps to protect information held from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. This includes:
- Current patients have electronic records held on a secure computer server
- Regular back-ups are made of patient information
- Strong password protections applied
- Historical paper-based records are stored off-site in a secure location
- Access to personal information restricted on a ‘need to know’ basis’
- Our staff and IT support contractors sign confidentiality agreements
7. Privacy related questions and complaints
If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of your personal information by us, you may lodge your complaint in writing to (see below for details). We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the OAIC:
Phone: 1300 363 992
Fax: +61 2 9284 9666
Post: GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001
8. Anonymity and pseudonyms
9. Overseas disclosure.
We may disclose your personal information to the following overseas recipients:
- any practice or individual who assists us in providing services (such as where you have come from overseas and had your health record transferred from overseas or have treatment continuing from an overseas provider)
- anyone else to whom you authorise us to disclose it
10. Updates to this Policy
11. Contact details for privacy related issues
Dr Christopher Nichols
Suite 88, 3 Barry Marshall Parade
Murdoch WA 6150
Telephone: 9332 5276
This policy was updated in August 2018.