IN OUR AESTHETIC CLINIC
Privacy & Information Collection Policy
Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health takes its obligations under the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 and the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 seriously and takes all reasonable steps in order to comply and protect the privacy of personal information.
This policy explains how we collect, use, disclose and otherwise handle personal and sensitive information. We recognise that individuals have a right to control how their personal information is collected and used. Providing personal information is an act of trust and it will be dealt with accordingly. Unless given consent to do otherwise, we will only collect and use personal information as set out below.
For the purposes of this policy, personal information may mean some or all of the following: a patient’s name, contact details, date of birth, emergency contact details, bank account and/or credit card details, other identification details, payment history, treatment details, before and after photographs and other sensitive information.
Collection of Information
Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health collects and holds personal health information about you in order to provide the best possible service.
Any information collected by Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health is collected via correspondence from you. This may be via the telephone, e-mail, mail or directly through our website or electronic check-in process.
This information enables us to properly assess, diagnose, treat your concerns and be proactive in your health care needs. The information we may ask you may be very personal, but not having this information may restrict our capacity to provide you with the standard of medical care that you expect.
When a treatment or product is purchased, personal information will be requested in order to provide the treatment or product, provide updated information, and advise of other treatments and products which may be of interest. You are not obligated to provide personal information, but failure to do so may result in us being unable to provide services or products to you.
You don’t need to identify yourself when you deal with us. However, in certain situations we will only deal with individuals who have identified themselves to us.
All members of the clinical team involved in your care will have access to your personal information. This means we may use and disclose the information you provide in the following ways:
- Disclosure to others involved in your medical care, including doctors and specialists outside this Clinic 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.
- Disclosure to enable recording on medical registers to improve community health care.
- Administrative purposes in running our medical Clinic, including our insurer or medical indemnity provider.
- Billing purposes, including providing information to Medicare and any other organisations responsible for the financial aspects of your care.
- 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.
- By law, doctors are sometimes required to disclose information for public interest reasons e.g. mandatory reporting of communicable diseases (sexually transmitted infections are decoded).
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.
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 those generated in hard copy. Even if you leave the Clinic, we are still required to keep patient information for as long as required by law (at least 7 years from your last appointment depending on your age).
As a health provider, we are required to use various government identifiers. For patients, these identifiers include Individual Healthcare Identifiers, Medicare card numbers and Department of Veterans Affairs file numbers, Concession card details, and Safety Net Numbers.
We may disclose personal information about you to various government departments and other entities for the purpose of billing those entities for the health services that we provide to you. We may also be required to disclose personal information to other government departments.
We will not sell or otherwise use or disclose your personal or health information unless authorised by you, except where the use or disclosure is required by law or where the disclosure of your health information is reasonably required due to a permitted health situation. We may charge these other entities for our intellectual property (the health information collected by us, and the clinical management, thoughts and processes associated with that health information).
What happens if you choose not to provide the information?
You are not obliged to provide us your personal information. However, if you choose not to provide Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health with your personal details such as name, address, date of birth etc., we may not be able to provide you with the full range of our services.
Treatment of Children
The rights of children to the privacy of their health information, based on the professional judgment of the doctor and consistent with law, might restrict access to an older child’s information by parents or guardians.
Patients have a general right of access to all health information held about them. The following is a list of the health information to which individuals have a right to access:
- The history of the health of the individual, an illness or a disability;
- Any results of examinations or investigations;
- Management Treatment plans;
- Services provided;
- Personal information collected in connection with the donation of body parts, organs or substances; and
- Genetic information which could be predictive of health.
Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health is required to provide the individual with access in the format requested by the individual.
Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health could refuse access if:
- It would pose a serious threat to anyone’s life or health;
- It would have an unreasonable impact on someone else’s privacy;
- It might prejudice an investigation of possible unlawful activity;
- Denying access is required and authorized by or under law.
If access is refused on the grounds of serious threat to the patients’ life or health, the patient can ask for a second opinion – this process is described in the Complaint Handling Process section.
Discretionary refusal of access
The doctor may choose not to provide access where:
- It would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other people;
- The request is frivolous or vexatious;
- The information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between the Clinic or doctor and the information would not ordinarily be obtainable by the process of discovery in those proceedings;
- It would reveal the Clinic’s intentions in relation to negotiations with the individual (other than the provision of a health service), in such a way as to expose us unreasonably to disadvantage;
- It would be likely to prejudice a law enforcement function by or on behalf of a law enforcement agency;
- The individual has already unsuccessfully made a request for the information, and there are no reasonable grounds for making the request again.
Where there are direct inconsistencies between the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act and the Commonwealth Privacy Act, the Commonwealth law will prevail.
Request for Access
Patients do not have to give reasons for requesting access.
The privacy legislation does not require immediate handing over of a record or a test result. Access should however be provided within a reasonable time (no longer than 45 days).
If a patient requests access to a test result (whether before the doctor has had the opportunity of consulting with the patient, or after) the doctor should handle this situation in accordance with usual clinical practice. A hard copy of test results may be given to the patient after consultation with their doctor.
Where a patient requests access to a test report from 12 months (or more) ago, after appropriate clinical investigations had occurred, the request should still be referred to the doctor to handle in accordance with usual clinical practice.
Where a patient requests more detailed access, for example a copy of the entire file or a chance to view a large portion of the file, this would normally require written application for access as described below.
If the patient requests a copy of the file, then Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health must comply – an accurate summary can only be supplied.
The original records are the property of Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health.
There are some circumstances in which access is restricted, and in these cases reasons for denying access will be explained.
Patients can only be given access to their medical record while their doctor is present to explain and discuss the record. No patient will be allowed unsupervised access to their record.
The accessing process
The request should initially be referred to the patient’s regular practitioner, who will determine whether the information can be provided ‘simply, freely and easily’, or whether to ask the patient to complete a written request for access to their medical records.
Where the practitioner decides that a more formal level of access is required, the practitioner shall ask the patient to write to Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health specifically requesting what they require.
Examples of information that could be provided ‘simply, freely and easily’ might be a list of current medications, a copy of a test result, or a summary of medical conditions.
If the patient needed to see the practitioner for other reasons this could perhaps be dealt with during a standard consultation, in which case no additional charge would apply. If the patient did not need to see the practitioner a standard fee (described below) would apply.
Types of Access and Costs
The types of access available, and relevant costs, are outlined below.
A range of fees (as set by the Health Records and Information Privacy Act) are payable to cover Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health’ costs in providing access.
- The usual fee for a consult of comparable duration, or
- $25 per 15 minutes or part thereof,
Whichever is the greater, plus GST, however the fee must not exceed $80.
There is no Medicare rebate available for this fee and this should be noted on the private account.
- 20 cents per A4 black & white page (photocopied or printed from computer), plus
- Reasonable costs if not A4, or if in colour, plus
- Reasonable costs incurred in assessing and collating the information (i.e. time spent by doctor and or staff), but not exceeding $20.
There is no Medicare rebate available for this fee and this should be noted on the private account.
Viewing file with explanation by Practitioner
The usual fee for a consult of comparable duration.
Changes to the medical record
If a patient finds that the information held on them is not accurate or complete, the patient may have that information amended accordingly by their practitioner.
Disclosure of Health Information to Medical Defense Organizations and Lawyers
Doctors may be obliged to disclose patient information relating to adverse outcomes to their Medical Defense Organization, insurer, medical experts or lawyers, without obtaining patient consent, so long as the disclosure is within the reasonable expectations of the patient.
Second opinion of refusal of access
When advised that access has been refused on the grounds of serious threat to the individual’s life or health, the individual can ask for a ‘second opinion’. The individual may nominate any health service provider who has consented to being nominated.
Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health must accept this nomination if they provide the same kind of service as a practitioner and have the ability to interpret and understand the health information. The clinic must give a copy of the file to the nominated health service provider within 14 days. That person then looks at the file, discusses it with the usual doctor at Nova Aesthetics & Women’s Health, and makes a decision as to whether it poses a threat to the individual’s life or health. If the second opinion is that there is no threat, access must be provided in the form of inspection, but a copy does not have to be provided.
Complaint Handling Process
The patient’s practitioner would usually be the first appropriate person to discuss any complaints. Most issues can be resolved simply through discussion with the patient. Only on failure to reach common ground would the Privacy Commissioner be asked to investigate a complaint.
Contact details for Privacy Commissioner:
Hotline: 1300 363 992
Fax: 02 9284 9666
Address: Level 3, 175 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Contact Details for the Health Complaints Commissioner are:
Hotline: 1800 043 159
Fax: 02 9281 4585
Address: Level 12, 323 Castlereagh Street (corner of Hay St)
Sydney, NSW 2000