IMMEX is committed to providing quality healthcare for its patients and clients. As a fundamental part of this commitment, principals and staff of the practice recognise the importance of ensuring that our patients are fully informed and involved in their healthcare.
IMMEX is a NSW health provider in the private sector, bound by the Health Records and Information Privacy Regulation 2017 under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). This includes both the Australian Privacy Principles-Commonwealth Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy protection Act 2012) and The NSW Health Privacy Principles. These principles set the standards by which we handle personal information collected from our patients. A summary of both sets of Principles is available for inspection at the reception desk.
Collection, Use and Disclosure of Information
As part of our commitment to providing quality healthcare it is necessary for us to maintain files pertaining to a patient’s health. These files contain the following type of information:
- Personally identifiable information such as patient name, address, date of birth, Medicare number
- Sensitive information such as:
– Patient medical history
– Notes made during the course of medical consultations
– Reports and referrals to other health service providers
– Results and reports received from other health service providers
The personal and health information collected by IMMEX is obtained from individuals during clinical consultations, health assessments, online questionnaires, paper-based questionnaires, health surveillance and health and wellbeing services. All information collected, either in paper, electronic or verbal format is subject to IMMEX’s confidentiality requirements and is held in strict confidence by all participating and related professionals and staff members of IMMEX.
IMMEX is not required to collect personal information unless necessary for patient care. The patient has to consent to the collection of sensitive information. If information is received which IMMEX did not solicit, IMMEX will determine whether or not this information was collected under the guidelines of patient consent. If not, the information will be de- identified or destroyed.
IMMEX can collect information, with patient consent from third party sources such as relatives or other health service providers and employers, if it is felt it is useful for the provision of quality care. This would also include collection of information without patient consent during medical emergencies.
Patient medical files are handled with the utmost respect for privacy. This file will be accessed by the medical practitioner, and when necessary, for example in the absence of the usual medical practitioner, by other medical practitioners in the practice. It may also be necessary for our staff to handle patient files from time to time to address the administrative requirements of running a medical practice. Our staff members are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment and these requirements must be observed if it is necessary for them to view the file.
At times, to ensure the function of our practice, it may also be necessary to allow external organisations to access our practice and possibly, to view medical records. Any external organisation that provides service or advice to this practice will be aware of the need to preserve the requirement of state and federal privacy legislation and will be bound by a confidentiality agreement
IMMEX does not intend to disclose personal information to overseas recipients unless it is to the patient healthcare provider and with patient permission.
IMMEX will not release the contents of medical files without consent. However, we advise that there may be occasions when we might be required by law to disclose the details of patient files irrespective of whether consent to the disclosure of information is given. For example:
- Information may be used to comply with all applicable laws such as responding to a subpoena or compulsory reporting to State and Federal authorities.
- Information may be provided to prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to somebody’s life or health.
IMMEX advises that patients of this practice have rights to access any information we hold concerning the patient. Should the patient wish to access this information we refer to our handout “Accessing your Medical Record”. Signed requests for accessing personal information must be in writing.
As part of our commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the information contained in patient medical records, we advise that strict secure storage policies are observed in this practice. All reasonable steps are taken to prevent any unlawful interference with electronic records, which are accessible only by staff of this practice and are protected by security firewall and password. Paper records are kept in secure storage only accessible by the practice staff and once scanned destroyed under strict guidelines – locked in security bins and removed by an authorised security document destruction company. Each member of staff is well versed in the principles and importance of doctor-patient confidentiality. Personal information will not be released to a person or organisation in a foreign country without the patient’s permission, unless legally required.
Query and Complaint
If at any time a patient /client has a query or complaint in relation to the privacy policies in place at IMMEX, they can contact the Practice Manager who would be happy to address any concerns. We advise that it is the practice’s policy that any complaint is required to be made in writing and addressed to the Practice Manager marked “ Private and Confidential. ”. We advise that we will make our best endeavours to address the complaint within 30 days.
If any changes are made to the consent form at any time the patient will be made aware of this and asked to sign the revised consent form.
Should the patient /client be dissatisfied with our response to a privacy complaint, they may lodge a written complaint with the NSW Privacy Commissioner or the Australian Information Commissioner.
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