Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of information we collect. We have developed a policy to protect patient privacy in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (‘The Privacy Act’). Our policy is to inform you of:
- the kinds of information that we collect and hold, which, as a medical practice, is likely to be ‘health information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act
- how we collect and hold personal information
- the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information
- how you may access your personal information and seek the correction of that information
- how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint
- whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients
2. What kinds of personal information do we collect?
The type of information we may collect and hold includes:
- name, address, date of birth, email and contact details
- health information about you, including:
- records of symptoms, examination findings, diagnoses and treatments
- specialist reports and test results
- prescription and pharmaceutical information
- genetic information
- healthcare identifiers
- information about your race, sexuality or religion
- administrative information about you, including appointment and billing details
- Medicare number, DVA number and other government identifiers, although we will not use these for the purposes of identifying you in our practice
3. How do we collect and hold personal information?
We will generally collect personal information:
- from you directly when you provide it to us. This might be via a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, registration form or online form
- from a person responsible for you
- from third parties where the Privacy Act or other law allows it; this may include, but is not limited to: other members of your treating team, diagnostic centres, specialists, hospitals, the My Health Record system, electronic prescription services, Medicare, your health insurer and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
4. Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?
In general, we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:
- to provide health services to you
- to communicate with you in relation to the health service being provided to you
- to comply with our legal obligations, including, but not limited to: mandatory notification of communicable diseases or mandatory reporting under applicable child protection legislation
- to help us manage our accounts and administrative services, including billing, arrangements with health funds, management of our information systems
- for consultations with other doctors and allied health professional involved in your healthcare
- to obtain, analyse and discuss test results from diagnostic and pathology laboratories
- for identification and insurance claiming
- if you have a My Health Record, to upload your personal information to, and download your personal information from, the My Health Record system
- information can also be disclosed through an electronic transfer of prescriptions service
- to liaise with your health fund, government and regulatory bodies such as Medicare, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (if you make a privacy complaint to the OAIC), as necessary
5. How can you access and correct your personal information?
You have a right to seek access to, and correction of the personal information which we hold about you.
For details on how to access and correct your health record, please contact the Practice Manager.
We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.
6. How do we hold your personal information?
Our staff are trained and required to respect and protect your privacy. We take reasonable steps to protect information held from misuse, loss and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. This includes:
- Holding your information on a secure server
- Holding your information in secure cloud storage
- Our staff sign confidentiality agreements
- Our practice has document retention and destruction policies
7. Privacy related questions and complaints
If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of your personal information by us, you may lodge your complaint in writing to the Practice Manager. We will normally respond to your request within 30 days.
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner:
Phone: 1300 363 992
Fax: +61 2 9284 9666
Post: GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
8. Anonymity and pseudonyms
The Privacy Act provides that individuals must have the option of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym, when dealing with our practice, except in certain circumstances, such as where it is impracticable for us to deal with you if you have not identified yourself.
9. Overseas disclosure.
We may disclose your personal information to the following overseas recipients:
- any practice or individual who assists us in providing services (such as where you have come from overseas and had your health record transferred from overseas or have treatment continuing from an overseas provider)
- overseas transcription services
- overseas based cloud storage
- anyone else to whom you authorise us to disclose it
10. Updates to this Policy
This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to take account of new laws and technology, changes to our operations and other necessary developments. Updates will be publicised on the practice’s website.
11. Contact details for privacy related issues
The Practice Manager
Harbour Spine Surgeons
PO Box 4003
Royal North Shore Hospital 2065
 See: https://myhealthrecord.gov.au/internet/mhr/publishing.nsf/content/home