Last updated June 2017
Our principal concern is patient health. To ensure our patients can feel confident with giving our practice information, a high level of trust and confidentiality is maintained constantly.
Our established culture of confidentiality is in accordance with the Federal Privacy Act 2001. All staff, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals at GSMC treat all patient information given to them either directly or indirectly, formally or informally as strictly and absolutely confidential.
How we use and disclose information collected
Acknowledging that the information we collect at our practice is often of a highly sensitive nature, the practice will always ensure that it is compliant with the highest privacy standards to keep all personal information secure and protected. All information is stored electronically and is password protected. All employees and contractors that work with and at GSMC are required to sign and comply with our confidentiality agreement.
To ensure our patients are provided the best treatment for medical and/or allied health services the practice, on behalf of the practitioners and the practitioners themselves may collect information (including Health information) to meet this purpose. When your treating doctor is unavailable, your collected information may be shared with another GSMC practitioner who can provide care for you.
Personal information collected (but is not limited to):
- The Patient’s name, birthdate, address, telephone number(s)
- Next of kin/emergency contacts
- Medicare Number
- Pension/DVA Number
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identification
- Current Drugs/Medication or treatment used by patient
- Current and Previous medical history, including where clinically relevant, family medical history
- The Name of any health service provider or medical specialist to whom the patient is referred
- Copies of any letter of referrals and any investigation reports relating to the patient
This information is collected by your patient registration form, when you verbally disclose personal information to your practitioner or other staff, and by disclosure of other entities at your consent.
The practice may access information:
- Provided directly by the patient or our practice
- For administrative and billing purposes
- Provided on patient’s behalf with their consent
- From health service providers/medical specialists to whom the patient is referred
Information is also collected about the medical and allied health practitioners who provide services within our practice. This information includes:
- Their Name
- Telephone number
- Qualifications and experience
- Insurance information
Personal information collected by GSMC may be used or disclosed:
- If required by law
- If there is a serious threat to the health or safety of an individual or to public health and safety
- For disease registers
- For referral of patients to other health service providers or medical specialists
- For the purpose of which the patient was advised and to provide the patient with the best health treatment
- For the purposes of billing, liaising with government departments regarding Medicare, training and to facilitate any improvements on our services and accreditation purposes
- In completely a de-identified manner for research studies
Health information is kept for a minimum of 7 years for adults from the last occasion in which health service was provided to the patient. If the person is under the age of 18 then records must be kept until the person has attained 25 years of age.
Accessing Your Information
Under Australian legislation (Commonwealth Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 and the Health Records Act 2001 (Victoria)) you may access your health record at GSMC.
Release of information is an issue between the patient and the doctor. Information will only be released according to privacy laws and at the doctor's discretion. Requested records are reviewed by the medical practitioner prior to their release and written authorisation is obtained. A Request for Personal Health Information form will need to be completed to ensure correct processing.
We respect an individual's privacy and allow access to information via personal viewing in a secure private area. The patient may take notes of the content of their record or may be given a photocopy of the requested information. A GP may explain the contents of the record to the patient if required.
An administrative charge may be applied, at the GPs discretion and in consultation with the Privacy Officer, e.g. for photocopying/printing a record and for staff time involved in processing request.
Access to your health record may be denied. Reasons for denied access will be given to the patient or third party in writing. In some cases, refusal of access may be in part or full.
A patient may ask to have their personal health information amended if he/she considers that is not up to date, accurate and complete. Where there is a disagreement about whether the information is indeed correct, our practice attaches a statement to the original record outlining the patients' claims.
Your information may be disclosed to an overseas recipient under circumstance that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles. GSMC will strive to obtain your consent before disclosing any information to any third party unless if required by law or if there is a serious threat to the health or safety of an individual or to public health and safety.
Other than what is stated in this policy we will not sell, distribute or disclose any personal information to any third party.
If you wish to discuss this policy, lodge a complaint or access your information please discuss with your practitioner or the Practice Manager.
Complaints may also be forwarded to the Health Services Commissioner.