The Good Shepherd Clinic Privacy Policy

Current as of: October 2023

Introduction

The purpose of this privacy policy is to provide information to you, our patient, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within our practice, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties.

The Good Shepherd Clinic is committed to protecting your privacy and have adopted the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The National Privacy Principles (NPPs) govern the way in which we collect, use, disclose, store, secure and dispose of your Personal Information. A copy of the Australian Privacy Principles may be obtained from the website of The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at https://www.oaic.gov.au.

Why and when your consent is necessary?

When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our practitioners and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the highest level of healthcare. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.

Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?

Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to provide you with the best possible care and to inform you about services offered at The Good Shepherd Clinic. We also use it for activities related to healthcare services, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (eg staff training).

What personal information do we collect?

The information we will collect about you includes your:

  • names, date of birth, addresses, contact details
  • medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors
  • Medicare number and concession card details (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
  • healthcare identifiers

Dealing with us anonymously

You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.

How do we collect your personal information?

Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.

  • When you make your first appointment at the Good Shepherd Clinic we will request for you to complete a new patient registration form. On this form you will be required to supply personal and demographic details as well as health information.
  • During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information. Information can also be collected through electronic means including My Health Record.
  • We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us or make an online appointment. Please note email is not encrypted and is therefore not a secure form of communication and can potentially be intercepted by third parties.
  • For privately billed appointments or other payments to the practice you may wish to pay be credit or debit card. If paid over the phone or online you will be required to provide your card details. Please note The Good Shepherd Clinic does not store your bank details.
  • In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
    • your guardian or responsible person
    • other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
    • your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).

When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?

  • with other healthcare providers
  • when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
  • when it is required or authorised by law (eg court subpoenas)
  • to assist in locating a missing person
  • to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
  • for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
  • with third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs and this policy
  • when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (eg some diseases require mandatory notification)
  • during the course of providing medical services such as sending referral to specialists or updating your My Health Record (eg via Shared Health Summary).

Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.

We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.

Our practice may use your personal information to improve the quality of the services we offer to our patients through research and analysis of our patient data.

We may provide de-identified data to other organisations to improve population health outcomes. The information is secure, patients cannot be identified and the information is stored within Australia. You can let our reception staff know if you do not want your information included.

How do we store and protect your personal information?

Your personal information may be stored at our practice in various forms but is primarily secured within our secure electronic health record. Some personal information may also be held in paper records and through email. The Good Shepherd Clinic stores all information securely through password protected software, varying database access depending on staff needs and securing our premises. We commit to take reasonable steps to protect information from misuse, loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure.

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?

You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.

Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing and we will respond within a reasonable timeframe.

We will take steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to reception@thegoodshepherdclinic.com.au.

How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?

We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. If you have any privacy concerns, please contact us in writing via email admin@thegoodshepherdclinic.com.au or letter addressed to The Good Shepherd Clinic, Shop 13, 2-4 Main Street, Mount Annan, NSW 2567. Alternatively, please visit us in person and pop your concerns in our feedback box at reception. Our practice manager will endeavor to manage and address your complaint promptly.

You may also contact the OAIC. Generally, the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond before they will investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.

Privacy and our website

Any personal information collected through our website or email is treated confidentially and is stored securely.

Policy review statement

This privacy policy will be reviewed regularly. Amendments to this policy will be available via our website or via hardcopy at reception.