MMC Privacy – Policy
MAYFIELD MEDICAL CONNECTION is committed to providing you with the best possible customer service experience. MAYFIELD MEDICAL CONNECTION is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Crh), which sets out a number of principles concerning the privacy of individuals.
MMC Privacy – Procedure
The collection statement informs patients about how their health information will be used including other organisations to which MMC usually discloses patient health information and any law that requires the particular information to be collected. Patient consent to the handling and sharing of patient health information is provided at an early stage in the process of clinical care and patients are made aware of the collection statement when giving consent to share health information.
In general, quality improvement or clinical audit activities in order to improve the delivery of a particular treatment or service would be considered a directly related secondary purpose for information use or disclosure so we do not need to seek specific consent for this use of patients’ health information, however we include information about quality improvement activities and clinical audits in the MMC policy on managing health information.
All email or SMS communications include an opt out function. Patients who opt out receive all important information by mail, through direct contact or by self-sourcing from our website.
We inform our patients about MMC’s policies regarding the collection and management of their personal health information via:
- a sign at reception
- brochure/s in the waiting area
- our patient PIS
- new patient forms – ‘Consent to share information’
- verbally if appropriate
- the MMC website
To ensure patients who receive care from MMC are comfortable in entrusting their health information to the MMC practice team. This policy provides information to patients as to how their personal information, which includes their health information, is collected and used within MMC, and the circumstances in which we may disclose it to third parties.
RACGP Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles: an addendum to the computer and information security standards (Second edition).
BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE:
The APP provide a privacy protection framework that supports the rights and obligations of collecting, holding, using, accessing and correcting personal information. The APP consist of 13 principle-based laws and apply equally to paper-based and digital environments. The APP complement the long-standing general practice obligation to manage personal information in a regulated, open and transparent manner.
This policy will guide MMC staff in meeting these legal obligations. It also details to patients how MMC uses their personal information. The policy is made available to patients upon request.
- provide a copy of this policy upon request
- ensure staff comply with the APP and deal appropriately with inquiries or concerns
- take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to implement practices, procedures and systems to ensure compliance with the APP and deal with inquiries or complaints
- collect personal information for the primary purpose of managing a patient’s healthcare and for financial claims and payments.
MMC’s staff will take reasonable steps to ensure patients understand:
- what information has been and is being collected
- why the information is being collected, and whether this is due to a legal requirement
- how the information will be used or disclosed
- why and when their consent is necessary
- MMC’s procedures for access and correction of information, and responding to complaints of information breaches, including by providing this policy.
MMC will only interpret and apply a patient’s consent for the primary purpose for which it was provided. MMC staff must seek additional consent from the patient if the personal information collected may be used for any other purpose.
COLLECTION OF INFORMATION
MMC will need to collect personal information as a provision of clinical services to patients at MMC.
Collected personal information will include patients’:
- names, addresses and contact details
- Medicare number, where available for identification and claiming purposes
- healthcare identifiers
- medical information including history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors.
A patient’s personal information may be held by MMC in various forms:
- as paper records
- as electronic records
- as visual – x-rays, CT scans, videos and photos
- as audio recordings
MMC’s procedure for collecting personal information is set out below:
- AT collect patients’ personal and demographic information via registration when patients present to MMC for the first time. Patients are encouraged to pay attention to the collection statement attached to/within the form and information about the management of collected information and patient privacy.
- During the course of providing medical services, the MMC’s healthcare practitioners will consequently collect further personal information.
- Personal information may also be collected from the patient’s guardian or responsible person (where practicable and necessary), or from any other involved healthcare specialists.
MMC holds all personal information securely, whether in electronic format, in protected information systems or in hard copy format in a secured environment.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
Personal information will only be used for the purpose of providing medical services and for claims and payments, unless otherwise consented to. Some disclosure may occur to third parties engaged by or for MMC for business purposes, such as accreditation or for the provision of information technology. These third parties are required to comply with this policy. MMC will inform the patient where there is a statutory requirement to disclose certain personal information (for example, some diseases require mandatory notification).
MMC will not disclose personal information to any third party other than in the course of providing medical services, without full disclosure to the patient or the recipient, the reason for the information transfer and full consent from the patient. MMC will not disclose personal information to anyone outside Australia without need and without patient consent.
Exceptions to disclose without patient consent are where the information is:
- required by law
- necessary to:
- lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life
- health or safety
- public health or safety
- 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 a confidential dispute resolution process.
MMC will not use any personal information in relation to direct marketing to a patient without that patient’s express consent. Patients may opt-out of direct marketing at any time by notifying MMC in a letter or email.
MMC evaluates all unsolicited information it receives to decide if it should be kept, acted on or destroyed.
ACCESS, CORRECTIONS AND PRIVACY CONCERNS
MMC acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. Patients are encouraged to make this request in writing, and MMC will respond within a reasonable time.
MMC will take reasonable steps to correct personal information where it is satisfied they are not accurate or up to date. From time to time, MMC will ask patients to verify the personal information held by MMC is correct and up to date. Patients may also request MMC corrects or updates their information, and patients should make such requests in writing.
MMC takes complaints and concerns about the privacy of patients’ personal information seriously.
Patients should express any privacy concerns in writing. MMC will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with its complaint resolution procedure.
Compliance indicators for the Australian Privacy Principles: An addendum to the computer and information security standards (Second edition)
RACGP Computer and information security standards (CISS) and templates (2013)
The RACGP Privacy handbook & patient pamphlet
MMC also provides significant privacy information in our New Patient Information, Consent and Permissions form which follows:
Current as of: April 2016
WHY AND WHEN YOUR CONSENT IS NECESSARY?
When you register as a patient of MMC, you provide consent for our GPs and MMC staff to access and use your personal information so they 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 will seek additional consent from you to do this.
When you sign our New Patient Consent Form you are agreeing to our sharing your information with people necessary to your healthcare.
WHY DO WE COLLECT, USE, HOLD AND SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
MMC will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main 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, MMC audits and accreditation, and business processes (e.g. staff training). The ease of providing you with quality healthcare is lessened if we are not given access to your personal health information this may in turn, compromise your health outcomes.
WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
The information we will collect about you includes:
- name, 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
- health fund details.
DEALING WITH US ANONYMOUSLY
You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals – Australian Privacy Principle APP2.
HOW DO WE COLLECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
MMC will collect your personal information:
- When you make your first appointment MMC’s staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
- During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information, and some of this information may be obtained through:
- Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP)
- Electronic Health (eHealth) services such as:
- MyHealth Record/Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system
- 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 past providers, specialists, allied health professionals, complimentary health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services, your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs
WHO DO WE SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION WITH?
We sometimes share your personal information:
- with third parties who work with MMC for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs 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 is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (e.g. some diseases require mandatory notification)
- during the course of providing medical services, through eTP, MyHealth Record/PCEHR system (e.g. via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people that 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, MMC will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.
We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.
MMC will not 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 MMC in writing, or by using the opt out option in the SMS or email presented.
HOW DO WE STORE AND PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Your personal information may be stored at MMC in various forms e.g. as paper records, as electronic records, as visual (X-rays, CT scans, videos and photos), or as audio recordings.
MMC stores all personal information securely
Your records are maintained within BP which is password protected and protected by firewalls and security software managed by Hunter Primary Health Network (Hunter PHN) as per RACGP requirements. Paper records from pre 30 May 2012 are securely stored onsite. Hard copies of records that are no longer required are either shredded onsite or shredded by an accredited secure document destruction company.
All staff have signed a confidentiality agreement that prohibits them from divulging any information about you that they may have learnt through working with us to provide you with quality health care.
How can you access and correct your personal information at MMC?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.
MMC acknowledges that patients may request access to their medical records. In order to comply with privacy legislation it is necessary to adhere to the following procedure:
We require you to put this request in writing and addressed to your GP. We can provide you with a standard request form for this purpose.
MMC will respond within 30 days or sooner, which by industry standards is considered to be a reasonable time. We will always act as quickly as possible.
If it is not possible for access to be granted, you will be notified in writing. If access is refused to your medical file, you will be advised of the reasons in writing. You may contact us if you wish to discuss this further.
You will not be permitted to remove any of the contents of your medical file from MMC, nor will you be permitted to alter or erase information contained in that medical record.
Where practicable, a GP will be present when access is granted to your file, to address any concerns you may have. A fee of $40 will be charged in relation to this attendance. No Medicare rebate applies to this fee.
There is a fee of $1 per page for copies of your file.
When collecting records, patients are requested to do so in person; however, in some limited circumstances (Illness or incapacity) patients may request another person to collect same. Photo identity is required to collect medical records and a letter of authority is required to collect on another’s behalf.
CORRECTION OF INFORMATION
MMC takes reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up-to-date. From time-to-time, we will ask you to verify your personal information held by MMC is correct and up-to-date. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to: The Practice Manager:
Mayfield Medical Connection, PO Box 109, Mayfield, NSW 2304
or by email to: email@example.com
HOW CAN YOU LODGE A PRIVACY RELATED COMPLAINT, AND HOW WILL THE COMPLAINT BE HANDLED AT MMC?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. Please express any privacy concerns you may have in writing to:
The Practice Manager, Mayfield Medical Connection, PO Box 109, Mayfield, NSW 2304
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. You will receive a response within 30 days; however we will make every effort to respond as quickly as possible. In our response we will endeavour to explain our view of the incident and any remedies we may offer. We will also explain any improvements in our processes that may have occurred due to the incident.
You may also contact the OAIC. Generally, the OAIC will require time to respond, before they will investigate. For further information, visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 336 002. You may also contact the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) on:
1800 043 159
or by going to their website
PRIVACY, OUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Our website collects your private information for three purposes:
- To enable us to respond to you if you use our contact form which requires your name and email and requests your phone number
MMC utilises Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to varying degrees we use social media to share health information and tips and to connect with our community. MMC does not collect data from our social media. Our social media pages are public forums therefore anything added to them are available to the public. Like any social media page, ours are subject to the data collection as standard to the specific social media provider. Their policies including what, why and how they collect your data is available by visiting:
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/legal/privacy-policy
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/privacy?lang=en
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/about/legal/privacy/
POLICY REVIEW STATEMENT
RACGP 4th edition Standards 4.2.1, 4.2.2
Call: (02) 4968 2157
55 Hanbury St,
Mayfield NSW 2304