Eye Associates is committed to providing quality healthcare for its patients. 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.
Eye Associates, is as a NSW health provider in the private sector, bound by 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.
As part of our commitment to providing quality healthcare it is necessary for us to maintain files pertaining to your health. These files contain the following type of information:
- Personally identifiable information such as your name, address, date of birth, Medicare number
- Sensitive information such as:
- Your medical history
- Notes made during the course of your medical consultations
- Reports and referrals to other health service providers
- Results and reports received from other health service providers
The information about you is provided by you or arises as a consequence of information provided to you.
Eye Associates must not collect personal information unless necessary for patient care or if authorised for research purposes. You must consent to the collection of sensitive information. If information is received which Eye Associates did not solicit, Eye Associates 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.
Eye Associates can collect information, with patient consent from third party sources such as relatives or other health service providers 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.
Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. This file will be accessed by your medical practitioner, and when necessary, for example in the absence of your usual medical practitioner, by other medical practitioners in the practice. It may also be necessary for our staff to handle your file 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.
Eye Associates participates in research to improve individual and community care and there will be times when you may be asked to be a part of that research or trial. Your details and other identifying features will be removed for publishing or reference purposes. You will be given the opportunity to opt –out of any involvement.
Eye Associates does not intend to disclose your personal information to overseas recipients unless it is to your healthcare provider and with your permission.
Eye Associates will not release the contents of your medical file without consent. However, we advise that there may be occasions when we might be required by law to disclose the details of your file irrespective of whether your 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.
Eye Associates advise that as a patient of this practice you have rights to access any information we hold concerning you. Should you wish to access this information we refer you to our handout “Accessing your Medical Record”. Signed requests for accessing your personal information must be in writing.
Please ask our reception team for a request form. We will respond to all requests for access to medical records in writing and access will be granted within 30 days. Access to patient records will be in the presence of your medical practitioner and will be charged a consultation fee that will not be rebated by Medicare.
As part of our commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the information contained in your medical record we advise that strict secure storage policies are observed in this practice. All reasonable steps are taken to prevent any unlawful interference with your electronic records, which are accessible only by staff of this practice and are protected by a security password. Your paper records are kept in secure storage only accessible by the practice staff. 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.
Should you at any time have a query or complaint in relation to the privacy policies in place at Eye Associates, please contact our practice manager who would be happy to address any concerns you may have. 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 you will be made aware of this and asked to sign the revised consent form.
Should you be dissatisfied with our response to your privacy complaint, you may lodge a written complaint with the NSW Privacy Commissioner or the Australian Information Commissioner.