Collection and Use of Patient Information
To provide a quality on-going health care service, Alliance collects information about its patients. Sensitive information such as current and previous medical conditions and family health history are necessary to provide an accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment and ongoing health care. Other personal information is required in order to contact patients regarding health issues as well as for billing purposes.
Disclosure of Patient Information
All patients have a right to confidentiality of their patient records. Unless the patient grants a third party authority to access patient records in writing, only the patient will be granted access to their personal patient information.
To provide continuity of care, patient information, which is collected, may be shared with other health care providers (doctors, hospitals, pathologists, specialists etc.). Upon request, relevant information will be made available to other health service providers,
Patient health information will not be used for any other purpose without patient consent. However, there are some circumstances when information has to be disclosed without patient consent, such as emergency situations, reporting communicable diseases, and fulfilling medical indemnity insurance requirements. Where applicable, patient information may also be provided to Medicare and private health funds.
Practitioners may be legally bound to disclose patient information in certain situations, for example, medical defence purposes and reporting communicable diseases. Records must also be disclosed under court orders, subpoenas, search warrants and Coroner’s Court cases.
Children and other dependent relatives also have the right to privacy of their health information. Access by other individuals (eg. parents, guardians, carers etc.) will be determined by medical and legal privacy requirements and each request for access will be addressed on an individual basis.
For research programs patients will be requested to provide informed consent for his/her personal health information to be released for use as research data.
Data Quality and Security of Patient Information
It is the policy of Alliance to maintain accurate, up-to-date and complete records.
Patient information may be stored on paper and/or in electronic formats.
It is the policy of Alliance to protect patient information from loss and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Patient information will be kept at Alliance as long as is legally necessary or required for administrative purposes. If information is no longer needed after this time, it will be destroyed in a secure manner.
Access and Correction of Patient Information
Under Australia’s privacy legislation, all patients have the right to access their personal records.
Requests for access to personal records must be in writing.
Patients can ask to view information or have a copy of all, or part, of patient records. A consultation with a practitioner may be required for this access, (this cannot be claimed under Medicare for a GP appointment).
All patients are able to have incomplete or inaccurate information amended.
There are some circumstances, such as for legal reasons, where access to patient information will be denied. If this is the case, the patient will be advised of the reason.
There is no charge for lodging a request for access, however, a charge may be made if Alliance incurs costs in providing access to records.
Under privacy legislation, patients may choose to remain anonymous if it is lawful and practicable to do so. In a medical context it may be dangerous for patients to remain anonymous. It is not possible to claim Medicare and health insurance rebates without providing some identifying information.
Some practitioners in the Alliance is may use computerised/electronic records. Where this is the case computerized records are stored in a secure electronic form. From time to time computer administrators are authorised to provide maintenance support on this system and may be granted access at this time.
All patient complaints regarding the handling of records should be discussed with the patient’s practitioner or the Practice Manager.
Further concerns may be forwarded to:
Federal Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 1042
Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992