Collection, use, and disclosure of your health information
- Osteopaths must keep clinical records. It’s a government requirement, and information about your medical and family health history is needed to provide accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment. We will only seek information that is relevant to your health. This information is generally collected directly from you or otherwise with your consent. However, from time to time we may receive information from others (for example, x-ray images and referrals from other practitioners). When this occurs we will, wherever possible, make sure you know we have received this information.
- Some information about you may be provided to Medicare and your private health insurer, if relevant, for billing and rebate purposes. This generally does not include your detailed clinical records, but may depend on the terms of your insurance policy.
- There are circumstances where a health practitioner is legally required to disclose information. An example of this is a subpoena or other mandatory reporting requirements.
- Generally, workers compensation and traffic accident schemes require patients treated under those schemes to agree their health information can be shared with the scheme and its insurers.
- It is necessary for us to keep your health information for as long as is required by law (generally 7 years after your last consultation, but longer in some circumstances).
- We will inform you if we intend to transfer your clinical records to another osteopath or clinic, or if we sell or close this clinic.
Privacy at a glance
- The provision of safe and quality osteopathic care is our principal concern. This requires a good osteopath-patient relationship, with trust and confidentiality.
- You are entitled to know what personal information is held about you; how and under what circumstances it may be disclosed; when consent is required for these purposes; and how it is stored.
- These matters will be discussed with you at the time your health information is collected while attending this practice.
- Clinical records are stored securely and safeguarded against loss or damage. This includes secure transmission and back-up of electronic records.
Access to your information
You have the right to access your information. You may ask to view the information or ask for a copy of a part or of the whole record. While not required to give reasons for your request, you may be asked to clarify the scope of the request.
Often a request will need to be in writing. Access to some information may be limited in special circumstances but in such an event you will be advised of the reasons.
At your request, your health information held by this practice will be made available to another health service provider.
Under the Privacy Guidelines a charge may be payable where the practice incurs costs in providing access, particularly if records need to be copied. Typically it’s about $25, but may be higher for larger files.
If you find that the information held is not accurate or complete, you may have that information amended accordingly.
Parents/guardians and children
Although this may surprise some parents, privacy laws apply to children as well as adults. Under the Privacy Guidelines, a child’s right to privacy of their own health information may at times restrict access by parents/guardians to that same information.
Have some questions?
If you have questions or concerns related to the privacy of your information, you should discuss these with the clinic or your osteopath. If you are dissatisfied you can contact the Australian Privacy Commissioner:
Australian Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 1042
Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992