Instructions for user:

  • This is a template Privacy Policy suitable for medical practices and medical practitioners based in Australia who provide healthcare services to patients – If you undertake activities outside of this, the template will need to be adjusted.
  • Please read this template in full and ensure that it accurately reflects how you collect, use, disclosure and secure personal information. Your final Privacy Policy must reflect your particular circumstances – you will need to adjust accordingly.
  • This template should align to the Privacy Manual and your processes and systems. All of your documentation needs to be consistent.
  • The template is designed to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles and we therefore recommend care be taken when deleting sections. You will need to adjust the template to reflect your particular circumstances
  • Items in yellow require you to input details such as your practice name, contact details, whether you transmit data overseas, your IT security measures, etc.
  • It is ideal that the ‘contact person’ is the Practice Manager or equivalent role. Adjust as appropriate.
  • Once complete, ideally you should delete this page and save this document as a PDF. You should place a copy on your website (in the footer section of each page) and also display a copy at reception.

[Practice Name] respects your rights to privacy and takes our privacy obligations seriously. We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles, found under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ‘Privacy Act’.

[include any state based laws i.e. the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) which are required to be added here – refer manual for further information].

When you first register as a patient, our new patient consent form requests your consent so that we can collect, use, hold and share your personal information in order to provide you with the best possible healthcare and to allow us to manage our practice. If we intend to use your personal information for any other purpose, we will seek your consent first.

This privacy policy explains:

  • how we manage your personal information (including your health information), including the collection, use, disclosure, quality and security of your personal information.
  • the kinds of information we collect and how that information is held;
  • the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
  • how you can access your personal information and how you can request to correct such information; and
  • how you can complain about a breach of your privacy and how we will handle your complaint.

If you have any queries, concerns or feedback regarding our Privacy Policy, please do not hesitate to contact us
[Insert title – The Privacy Officer/The Practice Manager]
Ph: [Insert Ph]
Email: [Insert email – should be email which is unlikely to change privacy@ or practicemanager@]
Post: [Insert postal address]

In this Privacy Policy, we use the terms:
“Personal information” as defined in the Privacy Act. This means:
“information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:

    •  whether the information or opinion is true or not; and
    •  whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not”;
    • “Health information” as defined in the Privacy Act. This is a subset of “personal information” and means information or an opinion about:
    • the health or a disability (at any time) of an individual;
    • an individual’s expressed wishes about the future provision of health services to him or her; or
    • a health service provided or to be provided to an individual

.
Personal information also includes “sensitive information” which is information such as your race, religion, political opinions, sexual preferences and/or “health information”. Information which is “sensitive information” attracts a higher privacy standard under the Privacy Act and is subject to additional mechanisms for your protection.

We, Us, Our, shall mean:
1. [Practice Name]
2. Employed, contracted and independent medical and healthcare practitioners who practice from our rooms.

If you are a practice where you are a service provider to other independent practitioners, then you should make it clear in this section by providing a statement that the practitioners are running their own businesses and that you are a service provider to them. You should also say whether it is your intention that these practitioners, while working from your rooms, fall under your Privacy Policy. A statement along the lines of the following may be appropriate:

[Practice Name] is a medical services business. We provide management, administrative, facilities and nursing services to independent medical/healthcare practitioners who run their own independent business from our practice. These practitioners have agreed to fall under and abide by our Privacy Policy and framework.

[Practice Name] collects information which is necessary to provide you with healthcare services and to appropriately manage and conduct our business. This includes collecting personal information and such as your name and contact details, medical history, family history, past and current treatments, lifestyle factors and any other information which is necessary to assist us in providing you appropriate care. We will also collect your Medicare number and health fund details (where applicable).
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. It is important to be aware that if you provide incomplete or inaccurate information or withhold information we may not be able to provide you with healthcare services.
Our practice utilises the My Health Record system. If you have a My Health Record we will collect your personal and health information which we require to provide you our services. This will usually include…………
[Practice Name] will usually collect your personal information directly from you, including from patient consent forms, medical records and consultations with you, or from another health service provider. Sometimes we need to collect information about you from third parties, such as relatives and friends and private health insurers.
We will only collect information from third parties where:

      • you have consented to such collection; or
      • such collection is necessary to enable us to provide you with appropriate healthcare services (such as emergency medical treatment or where your health is at risk);
      • such collection is reasonably necessary to enable us to appropriately manage and conduct our business; or
      • it is legally permissible for us to do.

[Practice Name] outsources to third party suppliers the collection of your personal information. These suppliers include:

      • [include such as outsourced reception]

[Practice Name] has CCTV systems operating at our premises for the purposes of maintaining safety and security for our patients, visitors, staff and other attendees. Our CCTV system may collect and store personal information and the use of our CCTV will be in accordance with the Privacy Act.

[Practice Name] only uses your personal information to provide you with healthcare services or to enable us to appropriately manage and conduct our business, unless:

  • there is a secondary purpose which directly relates to the primary purpose, and you would reasonably expect, or [Practice Name] has informed you, that your information will be used for that secondary purpose, or you have given your consent for your personal information to be used for a secondary purpose;
  • the disclosure of your information is necessary for the enforcement of criminal law or a law imposing a penalty or sanction, or for the protection of public revenue;
  • the disclosure of your information will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody’s life or health; or,
  • [Practice Name] is required or authorised by law to disclose your information for another purpose.

For example, [Practice Name] uses your personal information:

  • to provide healthcare services to you;
  • to appropriately manage our practice, such as conducting audits and undertaking accreditation processes, manage billings and training staff;
  • effectively communicate with third parties, including private health insurers, Medicare Australia and other government departments; and
  • for research purposes – delete if N/A and if applicable ensure your patient form expressly seeks the consent

[Practice Name] may disclose your personal information to our employees, contractors and service providers in order for us to provide healthcare services to you and to allow us to manage our business. We will also disclose your personal information to healthcare professionals directly involved in your treatment. Where your medical records are required in the case of a medical emergency, we will provide these to the relevant medical professional without waiting for your consent, where we believe this is in your interests.

Your personal information may also be provided to third parties if we are legally obliged to do so by a court subpoena, statutory authority, search warrant, coronial summons or to defend a legal action.

We may provide your personal information to third parties involved in your care, such as:

  • your parents, children, relatives and close friends, guardians or a person exercising a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney. Please advise us if it is your wish no third party as stated is to have access to your personal information;
  • government departments and agencies, such as Defence or Department of Veterans Affairs, or departments responsible for health, aged care and disability where we are required to do so;
  • private health insurers and Medicare Australia;
  • anyone authorised by you to receive your personal information

[Practice Name] engages the following third party service providers who assist us in delivering our services to you:

  • [include details]

We undertake and participate in research studies. We will always request your written permission to be involved in such research before we release any personal information to third party researchers.

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS – DELETE THE OTHER
[Practice Name] does not engage with any overseas entities or persons where your personal information will be transferred, stored or disclosed. Should we wish to transfer your personal information overseas, we will ask for your consent before we do so.

[Practice Name] does engage with overseas entities where your personal information will be transferred, stored and disclosed. We have taken reasonable steps to ensure these entities comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. These entities include:

  • insert name and country
  • insert name and country

We strive to maintain the reliability, accuracy, completeness and currency of the personal information we hold and to protect its privacy and security. All personal information, whether stored as a hard copy or in electronic form is protected from unauthorised access, misuse, interference, loss, modification or disclosure. Some of the steps we take to ensure your personal information is secure include:

  • We maintain physical security over our paper and electronic data and premises
  • our staff are trained on privacy and we have detailed internal processes and systems to protect your privacy
  • include IT step such as virus controls, firewalls, encryption, user identifiers and passwords to control access to computer systems where your information is stored and other IT security measures
  • include physical steps such as clean desk policy, locked medical records room
  • include details of data hosting if done by third party and quality of backup/facility
  • include details of any annual reviews or other risk management steps you take to protect privacy

Our website and email is linked to the internet. No data transfer over the internet is 100% secure. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us online or via email is transmitted at your own risk.

Subject to applicable laws, [Practice Name] may destroy records containing personal information when the record is no longer required by [Practice Name].
It is likely your medical records held by us contain sensitive information. We are required to abide by relevant legislation in the retention and disposal of your medical records.
Describe any hard-copy retention/disposal practices
Describe any electronic retention/disposal practic

We encourage you to contact us if you have a query regarding your personal information. You may request an amendment to your personal information if you consider that it contains inaccurate, incorrect or incomplete information.

You have a right to request access to any information we hold about you. If you make a request to access personal information that you are entitled to access, we will provide you suitable means of accessing it. We will not charge you for making the request. In circumstances where you request we provide a copy of your personal information to you, we may charge you a fee to cover our reasonable costs for complying with the request for access.

There may be instances where we cannot grant you access to some of the information we hold. For example, we may need to refuse access if granting access would interfere with the privacy of others. If that is the case, we will provide you with a written explanation of those reasons.

You can contact us about any privacy issues as follows:

[Insert title – The Privacy Officer/The Practice Manager]
Ph: [Insert Ph]
Email: [Insert email – should be email which is unlikely to change privacy@ or practicemanager@]
Post: [Insert postal address]

If you have a complaint about how we have dealt with your personal information or believe we have breached your privacy, please contact us on the details below so that we may investigate it. We will deal with your complaint fairly and confidentially. On receipt of your complaint we will contact you within 10 business days to confirm what investigation action will occur. We will then communicate the outcome to you in writing and invite a response to our conclusion about the complaint. If we receive a response from you, we will also assess it and advise if we have changed our view.

If you are unsatisfied with our response, you may make refer the complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (http://www.oaic.gov.au/) or to the NSW Privacy Commissioner, the Queensland Information Commissioner or Victorian Health Services Commissioner, if your complaint relates to our handling of your health records in that state.

[Insert title – The Privacy Officer/The Practice Manager]
Ph: [Insert Ph]
Email: [Insert email – should be email which is unlikely to change privacy@ or practicemanager@]
Post: [Insert postal address]

We may alter this Privacy Policy following any legislative change or upon a review of our information handling processes.
The current version of our updated Privacy Policy is available from:

  • insert website address
  • by contacting reception on xxxxx
  • other

If this Privacy Policy is to be placed on your website, then you may also wish to consider including the following clauses:

Relevant information when using our website:
Use of cookies

A ‘cookie’ is a small data file placed on your machine or device which lets us identify and interact more effectively with your computer. Cookies are used by many websites, including those operated by us. Cookies can facilitate a users ongoing access to and use of a website. Cookies allow us to customise our website to the needs of our users. If you do not want information collected through the use of cookies, there is a simple procedure in most browsers that allows you to deny or accept the cookie feature. However, cookies may be necessary to provide you with some features of our website.

Links to other sites

Our website may provide links to third party websites. These linked sites are not be under our control and we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices employed by those websites. Before disclosing your personal information on any other website, we recommend that you carefully read the terms and conditions of use and privacy statement of the relevant website.

Collection of non-identifiable information

We may also collect some information that is not personal information because it does not identify you. For example, we may collect anonymous answers to surveys or aggregated information about how our website is used.

Communications

We may contact you directly or send you communications and information about our services that we consider may be of interest to you. These communications may be sent in various forms, including mail, phone and email, in accordance with applicable marketing laws, such as the Spam Act 2003 (Cth). If you indicate a preference for a method of communication, we will use that method of communication. In addition, at any time you may opt-out of receiving communications from us by contacting us (see the details below) or by using opt-out facilities provided in the communication and we will the ensure that your name is removed from our mailing list.
We will not provide your personal information to other organisations for the purposes of such communications.