Unique Medical takes its obligations under the Victorian Health Records Act 2002 and the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 seriously and would like to take all reasonable steps in order to comply and protect the privacy of the personal information that we hold. This document outlines how we intend to do so.
Collection of Information
The main reason Unique Medical collects information from you is so that we may properly assess, diagnose, treat your illnesses properly and be proactive in your health care needs. Information we collect may include your contact details and personal medical history. Some information we collect is in order to comply with our legal obligations (e.g. Mandatory Reporting or Accreditation requirements). All members of the professional team involved in your care will have access to your personal information.
This means we may use and disclose the information you provide in the following ways:
- Disclosure to others involved in your health care, including doctors and specialists outside this practice who may become involved in treating you, pathology services, radiology services and in emergency situations. This may occur through referral to other doctors or specialists, or for medical tests and in the reports or results returned to us following the referrals.
- By law, doctors are sometimes required to disclose information for public interest reasons e.g. mandatory reporting of communicable diseases.
- Disclosure to enable recording on medical registers to improve community health care (for example the diabetes register or Pap smear register).
- Administrative purposes in running our medical practice, including our insurer or medical indemnity provider, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies.
- Billing purposes, including providing information to Medicare and other organisations responsible for the financial aspects of your care.
- Conducting medical research. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express signed consent for each program.
- Assisting with training and education of other health professionals. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express consent to your medical practitioner for each program.
In most cases we will obtain the information directly from you or your treating doctors. You are not obliged to give us your personal information, however this may mean that we may not be able to provide you with the full range of our services.
Information Quality and Security
Our goal is to ensure that your information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. To assist us with this, please contact us if any of the details you have provided have changed or if you believe the information we have is not accurate, not complete or not up-to- date.
The storage, use and, where necessary, the transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects patient privacy. We will take appropriate measures to protect electronic materials stored and generated in hard copy. It is necessary for medical practices to keep patient information after a patient’s last attendance for as long as required by law or is prudent having regard to administrative requirements.
Treatment of Children
The rights of children to the privacy of their health information, based on the professional judgement of the doctor and consistent with law, might restrict access to the child’s information by parents or guardians.
Access to Health Records Policy
The purpose of this Policy is to set out how Unique Medical Centre will provide access to your personal information. The Policy is part of our Privacy Unique Medical Centre will provide access by allowing you to inspect, take notes of or receive copies or printouts of the personal information that Unique Medical Centre holds about you. You can make your request in writing by filling out the form supplied by us.
To obtain access you will have to provide proof of your identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is provided only to the correct individuals and that the privacy of others is not undermined. We will take all reasonable steps to provide access within 14 days of your request. For the transfer of medical records to another medical practice, we will require the patient to sign a transfer of medical history request that is provided by the other practice and fax it to us.
Costs and charges
There is no fee to lodge a request for access. Unique Medical Centre will, where required, charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative costs such as photocopying. There are limits to the fees we can charge and these are prescribed in the Health Records Act 2002 (Vic).
A fee will be charged for the doctor’s time spent perusing the notes or explaining them directly to the patient, or rewriting incomprehensible records, in accordance with fees suggested within the Victorian Health Records Act and the Health Records Regulations or Freedom of Information legislation. These charges, cannot be claimed on Medicare or Health Funds.
When will Access be denied?
Access will be denied if:
- The request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request
- Providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to life or health of a person
- Providing access would create an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
- The request relates to legal proceedings between Unique Medical Centre and you;
- Providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request; Access would be unlawful; Denial of access is authorised or required by law; Access would prejudice law enforcement activities;
- Access discloses a ‘commercially sensitive’ decision making process or information; or
- Any other reason that is provided for in the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) set out in the Victorian Health Records Act and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out under the Commonwealth Privacy Act.
Where possible, Unique Medical Centre will favour providing access. It may do so by providing access to the appropriate parts of, and not the entire record.
If you have any complaints about our privacy practices or wish to make a complaint about how your personal information is managed, please contact the Practice Manager. All complaints will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible. We prefer that your complaint is in writing. You may write to the Practice Manager 100-106 High St Cranbourne 3977 or alternatively email to [email protected]
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our handling of your complaint, you may contact the Victorian Health Services Commissioner on Free call 1800 136 066 or visit the website www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc or the Federal Privacy Commissioner.