Collection, Use & Disclosure
At Doctor After Hours we recognise that the information we collect is often of a highly sensitive nature and as an organisation we have adopted the highest privacy compliance standards to ensure personal information is protected. This includes the use of information technology programmes to encrypt and protect data, as well as confidentiality agreements and regular training in confidentiality amongst the staff of our practice.
Patient information is shared between the practitioners who attend a patient in our practice, for administrative and billing purposes, and to enable the patient to be attended by all practitioners.
We may collect personal information (including health information) regarding patients for the purpose of providing medical services and treatment to patients. Personal information collected will generally include: the patient’s name, address, telephone number and medicare number; health care fund; current drugs or treatments used by the patient; previous and current medical history, including where clinically relevant a family medical history, and the name of any health service provider or medical specialist to whom the patient is referred, copies of any letters of referrals and copies of any reports received.
We may access information:
- provided directly by the patient;
- provided on the patient’s behalf with the patient’s consent;
- from a health service provider who refers the patient to medical practitioners
- from health service providers to whom patients are referred.
Personal information collected by us may be used or disclosed:
- for the purpose the patient was advised of at the time of collection of the information by us;
- as required for delivery of the health service to the patient;
- as required for the ordinary operation of our services (i.e. to refer the patient to a medical specialist or other health service provider);
- as required under compulsion of law; or
- where there is a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health, or safety; or
- a serious threat to public health or public safety.
Other than as described in this Policy or permitted under the National Privacy Act, Doctor After Hours uses its reasonable endeavours to ensure that identifying health information is not disclosed to any person.
We keep health information for a minimum of 7 years from the date of last entry in the patient record (unless the patient was a child in which case the record must be kept until the patient attains or would have attained 25 years of age). This is because we are required to maintain such records under some laws.
Practitioners who provide services at our practices may refer patients to the following services:
- pathology services
- radiology services;
- public hospitals;
- private hospitals;
- day procedure centres;
- allied health services
We may also collect or disclose personal information for quality assurance, training, billing, liaising with government offices regarding Medicare entitlements and payments and as may be required by our insurers.
We also collect information about the medical practitioners who provide services at our practice. This information includes the name, address, qualifications and experience of the medical practitioner, as well as insurance currency documents and evidence of ongoing training.
Can I get access to my medical records?
As a general rule, you have a right to gain access to all the information held about you. You may exercise this right in a number of ways. Getting access may include looking over the records, taking a copy of those records with you, or having them explained to you. In some cases you may need to reach an arrangement about access with us. Where the information in your records is incorrect, you can ask us to take reasonable steps to correct that information.
There are some limitations on your right of access. These may apply, for example, to information held before 21 December 2001. Access to your medical records can be refused in a number of situations, which are set out in National Privacy Principle 6 (NPP 6). These situations include where giving access would pose a serious threat to the life and health of anyone, or where refusing access is required by law. For a full discussion of your right to get access to, and to correct, your medical records and of NPP 6 generally, see the Guidelines on Privacy in the Private Health Sector.
If an individual wishes to:
- access his or her own information held by us; or
- correct any information held by us concerning his or her own information; or
- complain to us about a breach of privacy; or
- find out more about how we deal with personal information, that individual can contact: The Practice Manager, Doctor After Hours, 3 Lavarack Crescent, Buderim QLD 4556