Bayside Medical Group takes its obligations under the Victorian Health Records Act 2001 and the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 seriously and will take all reasonable steps in order to comply and protect the privacy of the personal information that we hold.
Collection of information
Bayside Medical Group collects and holds personal health information about you.
We will collect information from you in the following way:
- When you register as a patient of Bayside Medical Group
- When information is provided by you in the course of a consultation with one of our health professionals
- When information is provided by other health professionals acting on your behalf
- When updating your demographic details and/or processing your account for Medicare claiming purposes.
The main reason Bayside Medical Group collects information from you is so that we may properly assess, diagnose, treat your illnesses properly and be proactive in your health care needs. The information we may ask can be personal. If you choose not to provide this information it may restrict our capacity to provide you with the standard of medical care that you expect.
All members of the professional team involved in your care will have access to your personal information.
Disclosure of Information
We may use and disclose the information you provide in the following ways:
- Disclosure to others involved in your health care, including doctors and specialists outside this practice who may become involved in treating you, pathology services, radiology services and in emergency situations. This may occur through referral to other doctors or specialists, or for medical tests and in the reports or results returned to us following the referrals.
- By law, doctors are sometimes required to disclose information for public interest reasons e.g. mandatory reporting of communicable diseases.
- Disclosure to enable recording on medical registers to improve community health care ( for example the diabetes register or pap smear register).
- Administrative purposes in running our medical practice, including our insurer or medical indemnity provider, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies.
- With your permission we may also disclose information to your insurer, legal representative to your employer – only with your express signed consent.
- Billing purposes, including providing information to your health insurance fund, Medicare and other organisations responsible for the financial aspects of your care.
- Collection of outstanding accounts via a third party
- Conducting medical research. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express signed consent for each program.
- Assisting with training and education of other health professionals. You will be informed when such activities are being conducted and your involvement will only take place if you provide express consent to your medical practitioner for each program.
Our goal is to ensure that your information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. To assist us with this, please contact us if any of the details you have provided change. Further, if you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, contact us and we will use all reasonable efforts to correct the information.
The storage, use and, where necessary, the transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects patient privacy. We will take all reasonable steps to protect the security of the personal information that we hold. This includes appropriate measures to protect electronic materials stored and generated in hard copy. It is necessary for medical practices to keep patient information after a patient’s last attendance for as long as required by law or is prudent having regard to administrative requirements.
Access to your personal information
Access will be provided in accordance with our Access Policy. If you require access to your personal information please contact the Practice Manager.
Legal reasons why we collect the personal information
Some information we collect is in order to comply with our legal obligations eg Mandatory Reporting or Accreditation requirements.
What happens if you choose not to provide the information?
You are not obliged to provide us with your personal information. However, if you choose not to provide Bayside Medical Group with your personal details such as name, address, Medicare details and date of birth etc we may not be able to provide you with the full range of our services and we will not be able to process your Medicare refund for you.
Treatment of Children
The rights of children to the privacy of their health information, based on the professional judgement of the doctor and consistent with law, might restrict access to the child’s information by parents or guardians.
If you have any complaints about our privacy practices or wish to make a complaint about how your personal information is managed please contact the Practice Manager. All complaints will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible.
A privacy complaint relates to any concern or dispute that you have with our privacy practices as it relates to your personal information. This could include matters such as how personal information is collected, stored, used, disclosed or how access is provided.
We prefer that your complaint is in writing.
If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you may contact the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC). The HCC responds to complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria. Their service is free, confidential and impartial. To lodge a complaint with the HCC:
Fill out a complaint form online at www.hcc.vic.gov.au or
Phone 1300 582 113 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday to discuss your complaint.
Access to Health Records Policy
At all times the conduct under this Policy will be governed by the following principles:
- All requests for access will be treated seriously;
- All requests will be dealt with promptly;
- All requests will be dealt with in a confidential manner;
Form of Access
Bayside Medical Group will provide access by allowing you to inspect, take notes of or receive copies or printouts of the personal information that the Bayside Medical Group holds about you.
All requests must be in writing on the form supplied by us.
To obtain access you will have to provide proof of your identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is provided only to the correct individuals and that the privacy of others is not undermined.
When will Access be denied?
Access will be denied if:
- The request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request;
- Providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to life or health of a person;
- Providing access would create an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
- The request relates to legal proceedings between Hampton Bayside Medical Centre and you;
- Providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request;
- Access would be unlawful;
- Denial of access is authorised or required by law;
- Access would prejudice law enforcement activities;
- Access discloses a ‘commercially sensitive’ decision making process or information; or
- Any other reason that is provided for in the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) set out in the Victorian Health Records Act and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out under the Commonwealth Privacy Act.
- Where possible, the Hampton Bayside Medical Centre will favour providing access. It may do so by providing access to the appropriate parts of the record, and not the entire record.
We will take all reasonable steps to provide access within 45 days of your request.
Costs and charges
There is no fee to lodge a request for access.
Bayside Medical Group will, where possible, charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative costs such as photocopying. There are limits to the fees we can charge and these are prescribed in the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).
A fee will be charged for the doctor’s time spent perusing the notes or explaining them directly to the patient, or rewriting incomprehensible records, in accordance with fees suggested within the Victorian Health Records Act and the Health Records Regulations or Freedom of Information legislation.
These charges cannot be claimed on Medicare or your Private Health Fund.