We are committed to treating your personal health information in accordance with privacy law.
Collection of your information
We collect information directly from you wherever possible. If this is not possible, or in an emergency, we may also need to collect information from a family member, friend, carer or other person who can help us to provide you with appropriate health care.
We take responsible steps to ensure that your personal information is accurate, complete, up to date and relevant. For this purpose, staff may ask you to confirm details at consultation. Let our friendly staff know if any details have changed including emergency contacts.
Security of information collected
Most commonly, your information may be held as an electronic health record forming part of a secure computerised database. Some information may also be held in the form of an image including x-ray or photograph.
We follow strict rules and policies regarding the secure storage of information in all formats in order to protect your information from unauthorised access, loss or other misuse.
Staff are also bound by a strict code of conduct to maintain confidentiality of all personal and health information which they access in the course of their duties.
Use or disclosure of information
Your personal health information held either in paper or electronic format may be used by the clinic or disclosed outside the health service, to enable appropriate care and treatment to be provided to you. For example, your information may be used or disclosed as follows:
- to other treating health services, hospitals or medical specialists involved in your care and treatment
- to contact you at home regarding follow-up appointments
- to your carer to assist them with your care
- to the Ambulance Service of NSW
- to process pathology tests, x-rays, and so on
- to contact you for feedback on the services you have received from us to help us evaluate and improve our services
- for billing and debt recovery
- to students and other staff for training purposes
- to other health services and authorised third parties to help prevent a serious and imminent threat to someone’s life, health or welfare, such as in an emergency
- to investigate and report a complaint. This includes but is not restricted to complaints about patient care, staff conduct, information privacy, patient safety, or any incidents occurring in the health service.
- to manage a legal action or claim brought by the patient against the health service.
- for purposes relating to the operation of the NSW health service and treatment of our patients, including funding, planning, safety and quality improvement activities
If you do not wish for us to collect, use or disclose certain information about you, you will need to tell us and we will discuss with you any consequences this may have for your health care.
The law also allows or requires for your personal health information to be disclosed to other third parties, for example:
- to State and Commonwealth government agencies for statutory reporting purposes, such as to report notifiable diseases, for example, cancer and infectious diseases, to report births and deaths, and to provide Medicare details.
- to researchers for public interest research projects as approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee
- to other health services or law enforcement agencies, such as the police, if you provide us with information relating to a serious crime, including assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and so on
- to other agencies where the information relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person
- to comply with a subpoena or search warrant if your information is required as evidence in court HealtheNet is a secure online summary of your personal health information from NSW public health services where you have attended. HealtheNet also provides clinical access to My Health Record (previously known as the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR)).
HealtheNet and My Health Record provide the doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers who are treating you with better information about your health care. Staff are only permitted to access HealtheNet and My Health Record for work-related purposes and in accordance with privacy obligations. For further information visit eHealth NSW
Access to your information
You are entitled to request access to your information including your health record held by health services in NSW. Normally you will be asked to apply for access in writing and provide identification. You may be charged a fee if you request copies of your information or health record. Requests for access to information will be responded to as soon as possible, or in most cases no later than 28 days.
Access to your information may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving access would put you or another person at risk of mental or physical harm.
If you believe the information we hold about you is incorrect or an error has been made, please let us know and we will correct it or add a notation to your health record.
If you have questions or a complaint about the privacy of your personal information, please contact us. Upon receipt of a complaint we will consider the details and attempt to resolve it in accordance with our complaints handling procedure.
Privacy leaflet for patients, NSW Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/patients/privacy/Documents/privacy-information-leaflet-for-staff.pdf
Privacy leaflet for staff, NSW Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/patients/privacy/Pages/privacy-leaflet-for-patients.aspx