Current as of 1 January 2017
Why and when your consent is necessary
Specialist Ultrasound for Women Blacktown respects your rights to privacy and takes our privacy obligations seriously. We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles, found under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ‘Privacy Act’.
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our Sonographers, Reporting Doctors and Practice 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.
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 main purpose for collecting, using, reporting and sharing your personal information is to manage your health between our practice and your referring doctor. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training).
What personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes:
- Names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
- Medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
- Information regarding your relevant information regarding your reason for imaging request
- Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
- Healthcare identifiers
- Health fund
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.
How do we collect your personal information?
Our practice will collect your personal information:
- When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal and demographic information.
- During the course of providing diagnostic imaging and reporting services, we collect further personal information regarding your pregnancy and/or history related to the request for diagnostic imaging.
- We 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 your referring GP/Doctor or hospital
- Your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (as necessary).
Who do we share your personal information with?
Our practice is a diagnostic imaging service, and therefore we are responsible for performing diagnostic imaging procedures and preparing images and a report of findings to your referrer (such as your GP, hospital, specialist, etc). The reporting of findings is congruent with the requested test from your referrer only. Our practice will not perform diagnostic tests or report on findings that are not requested by your referrer.
We sometimes share your personal information:
- 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 APP’s and this policy
- With other healthcare providers
- When it is required or authorised by law (eg 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 (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
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, our practice 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.
Our practice 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 our practice in writing.
Specialist Ultrasound for Women Blacktown does not engage with any overseas entities or persons where your personal information will be transferred, stored or disclosed. Should we wish to transfer your personal information overseas, we will ask for your consent before we do so.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms, however our practice essentially attempt to only keep one electronic health record, including diagnostic images, photos (procedural), and scans and necessary patient demographic information.
Our practice stores all personal information securely. We have dedicated information technology specialists who monitor and maintain our electronic system to ensure information is secured. Our practice has a dedicated system to backup all of our data in a secure format. Our practice staff have secure levels of access to certain types of information, as well as have individually dedicated passwords. Confidentiality agreements are kept with all staff and contractors whenever any access to this information occurs.
- We maintain physical security over our paper and electronic data and premises
- our staff are trained on privacy and we have detailed internal processes and systems to protect your privacy
- include IT steps such as virus controls, firewalls, encryption, user identifiers and passwords to control access to computer systems where your information is stored and other IT security measures
- include physical steps such as clean desk policy, locked medical records room
- include details of data hosting if done by third party and quality of backup/facility
- include details of any annual reviews or other risk management steps you take to protect privacy
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. Our practice will endeavor to process these requests within 14 – 30 days of receiving the request. Please note that if the request incurs a significant amount of printing and photocopying, a fee may be applicable. For more information please ask our Medical Director.
Our practice will take 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 our practice 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:
Medical Director/Practice Manager
Suite 3, 15-17 Kildare Road
Blacktown, NSW, 2148
We strive to maintain the reliability, accuracy, completeness and currency of the personal information we hold and to protect its privacy and security. All personal information, whether stored as a hard copy or in electronic form is protected from unauthorised access, misuse, interference, loss, modification or disclosure. Some of the steps we take to ensure your personal information is secure include:
- Maintaining physical security over our paper and electronic data and premises
- Staff are trained on privacy and we have detailed internal processes and systems to protect your privacy
- IT steps such as virus controls, firewalls, encryption, user identifiers and passwords to control access to computer systems where your information is stored and other IT security measures
- Physical steps such as clean desk policy, locked medical records room
- Details of data hosting if done by third party and quality of backup/facility
- Details of any annual reviews or other risk management steps you take to protect privacy
How secure is our website?
Our website and email is linked to the internet. No data transfer over the internet is 100% secure. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us online or via email is transmitted at your own risk.
Our website provides links to third party websites. These linked sites are not under our control and we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices employed by those websites. Before disclosing your personal information on any other website, we recommend that you carefully read the terms and conditions of use and privacy statement of the relevant website.
How long is my information stored for?
Subject to applicable laws, Specialist Ultrasound for Women Blacktown may destroy records containing personal information when the record is no longer required by Specialist Ultrasound for Women Blacktown.
It is likely your medical records held by us contain sensitive information. We are required to abide by relevant legislation in the retention and disposal of your medical records.
Hard copy documents are held in an area inaccessible to public/patient access, and is retained for the purposes of ensuring that a copy is kept until the data from the day is backed up and contains the scanned hard copy document. Our practice has on-site shredding facilities to ensure your information is destroyed securely.
Electronic records are retained for seven (7) years. Our practice works towards archiving and disposing of medical information in order to have an up to date database. Images used in your examination are only backed up if they are the images used to conduct the report. Some images from the diagnostic procedures are not useful for the purposes of investigation and are not used or retained. The images used to determine the report and findings are stored on our server and the information is backed up daily.
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 will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. You can write to us with your feedback or complaint to:
Medical Director/Practice Manager
Suite 3, 15-17 Kildare Road
Blacktown, NSW, 2148
Our Medical Director and/or Practice Manager will endeavor to process and handle your complaint within 30 days. All complaints processes are documented and recorded to ensure that our practice maintains high quality assurance.
If you are unsatisfied with our response you may refer the complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (http://www.oaic.gov.au/) or to the NSW Privacy Commissioner
Privacy Officer Ph: 1300 363 992
Postal Address: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001 Website: http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
Policy review statement