Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Your Personal Health information
Your doctor needs information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high quality care. This practice will make sure that you are able to discuss your health with your doctor in private
Your information is called “personal health information”. It concerns your health, medical history or past or future medical care.
This practice follows the “Code of Practice for the Management of Health information in Medical Practices” developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. This means that your personal health information is kept private and secure. The approach used in Code is consistent with the provisions of Federal and State Privacy Legislation. The practice has a written policy on personal health information – this policy is available to all patients for inspection.
Your Medical Records
Your doctor will do his/her best to make sure that your medical records:
Your doctor will only collect information which is relevant to your medical care. If you are uncertain, as to why information is being requested, ask your doctor.
Providing your information to other doctors
The doctor(s) in this practice respect your right to decide how your personal health information is used or disclosed (for example to other doctors). In all but exceptional circumstances, personal information that identified you will be sent to other people only with your consent. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle.
It is important that other people involved in your care, such as other doctors are informed of relevant parts of your medical history so they can best care for you. After discussion with you, your doctor will write a letter to the other doctor, which will either be posted or given to you to take to them. If you have any concerns about this discuss them with your doctor.
In most group practices it is customary for all doctors in the practice to have access to all the medical records if you have any concerns about other doctors at this practice being able to see your records discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Providing your information to others.
Your doctor will not disclose your personal health information to a third party unless:
In any of the above cases only information which is necessary to achieve the objective will be provided.
Using health information for quality improvements and research
We use patient health information to assist in improving the quality of care we give to all our patients by reviewing the treatments used in the practice.
We may also use information that does not identify you in research projects to improve health care in the community. You will normally be informed if your information is to be used for this purpose and ill have the opportunity to refuse to have your unidentified information used in this way.
In some circumstances, where the research serves an important public interest, identifiable medical records can be used for medical research without your consent under guidelines issued by the National Health and Medical research Council. This research must be approved by an official ethics committee.
Wherever practicable, the information used for research will not be in a form that would enable you to be identified. The publication of research results which us your information will never be in a form that enables you to be identified.
Security of information in the practice.
Many medical practices have their medical records on computer systems. We will ensure that any of your personal information that is put on our computer will be kept private in the same way as occurs with paper records. This will protect your records from unauthorised access.
Your access to your health information
You have access to the information contained in your medical record. You may ask your doctor about any aspect of your healthcare including information in your record. We believe that sharing information is important for good communication between you and your doctor and for good health care.
Information in your record can be provided to you by way of an accurate and up to date summary of your care, for instance if you are moving away and are transferring to a new doctor. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor if you want a summary of your care for any reason. If you request a summary or direct access to your full medical record your doctor will need to take out any information provided by others on a confidential basis. Your doctor will also need to consider the risk of any physical or mental harm to you or any other person which may result from disclosure of your health information.
Your doctor will be please to provide a full explanation of the health summary or medical record provided.
Depending on what is involved, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of providing the information.
Resolving your concerns regarding the privacy of your health information.
If you have any concerns regarding h privacy of your health information or regarding the accuracy of the information held by the practice you should discuss these with your doctor. Inaccurate information will be corrected or your concerns noted in the records if it is not possible or desirable to alter the original record.
Further information on Privacy Legislation is available from:
Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner
1300 363 992
Office of the Health Services Commission (Victoria) 1800 136 066
Community and Health Services Complaints office (ACT) 02 6205 2222
Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner
02 9268 5588