CURRENT AS OF 01 JANUARY 2023
Communication, Email and Other Applications
Phone, fax or mail is the preferred communication method between patients and the practice. Sending personal information via unencrypted email isn’t a secure form of communication and is only done with consent from a patient. We endeavour to get back to all patient queries within 24 – 48 hours. Urgent queries should be flagged by the patient, so our administration team can manage your request appropriately.
Our online bookings and SMS reminders are facilitated through HotDoc. If you subscribe to this service, it’s necessary for HotDoc to access your personal details (such as your name, address and contact number).
For more information on their privacy and security policy please see their website – https://www.hotdoc.com.au/privacy-policy.
Why and When Your Consent is Necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for the GPs at our clinic and practice staff to access and use your personal information. This is so we can provide you with the best possible healthcare.
Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we’ll seek additional consent from you to do this.
Why do We Collect, Use, Hold and Share Your Personal Information?
Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you.
Our primary purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your health.
We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (e.g. staff training).
What Personal Information do We Collect?
The information we’ll collect about you includes your:
- names, date of birth, addresses, contact details;
- medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors; Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes healthcare identifiers, and health fund details.
Dealing With Us Anonymously
You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym. This is unless it’s impracticable for us to do so, or unless we’re required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.
How do We Collect Your Personal Information?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
When you make your first appointment, our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. Information can also be collected through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record/PCEHR system, e.g. via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary.
We may also collect your personal information when you:
- visit our website;
- send us an email or SMS;
- telephone us;
- make an online appointment, or
- communicate with us using social media.
In some circumstances, personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
- your guardian or responsible person;
- other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services;
- your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (as necessary).
Who do We Share Your Personal Information With?
With your local Primary Health Network, such as the North West Melbourne Primary Health Network, in the aim of planning and improving health services in the area – your identity IS NOT disclosed and you can opt-out any time by letting us know.
With third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles and this policy.
With other healthcare providers.
When it is required or authorised by law (e.g. court subpoenas).
When it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent.
To assist in locating a missing person.
To establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim.
For the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process.
When there’s a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification).
During the course of providing medical services, through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record/PCEHR system (eg via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so.
Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice won’t share personal information with any third party without your consent.
We won’t share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.
Our practice won’t use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.
How do We Store and Protect Your Personal Information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms, for example, electronic records, medical imaging, medical photography and scanned paper records.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. We have the latest in IT technology. There are strict confidentiality rules for all the staff and contractors.
How can You Access and Correct Your Personal Information at Our Practice?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.
Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing and our practice will respond within a reasonable time. We’ll respond within 30 days, and may levy a charge for administrative fees.
Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information isn’t accurate or up to date. From time to time, we’ll ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to the practice manager.
How can You Lodge a Privacy-Related Complaint, and How Will the Complaint be Handled at Our Practice?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We’ll then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure.
Please address concerns to: Practice Manager, Doctors of Northcote, 295 High Street, Northcote VIC 3070. The practice manager will endeavour to respond within 30 days.
You may also contact the OAIC. Generally, the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond before they’ll investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.
Policy Review Statement
This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure it’s in accordance with any legislative changes and best practice. We’ll publish it here on our website: https://www.doctorsofnorthcote.com.