The provision of quality health care is our primary concern. It involves a doctor-patient relationship of trust and confidentiality. We regard your health information as confidential and will only collect this information with your consent.
As a patient, it is necessary for your surgeon and Gold Coast Spine to collect information about you. We will collect this information from you and sometimes from others that are associated with your health care. The purpose of collecting the information is to meet your health needs and for our administrative purposes.
If you are involved in a third party or other insurance type claim, we may also collect information about you from organisations involved in your claim. This information will be collected for the purpose of your treatment as well as for the purpose of your surgeon providing reports about your claim to the organisations involved.
Use and Disclosure
Your health information is used or disclosed for purposes directly related to your health care and in ways that are consistent with your expectations. In the interests of high quality and continuity of health care, this may mean sharing your information with other health care providers who are part of your medical ‘team’. This will include (but is not be limited to) your GP, hospitals, pathology firms, radiology firms, pharmacists, physiotherapists, other specialists, prosthesis supply companies, anaesthetists, etc.
If you are involved in a third party or other insurance type claim, your surgeon and Gold Coast Spine may also disclose your health information to your insurance company, your workers compensation body, lawyers involved in the claim, rehabilitation providers, etc. Prior to releasing your health information to these organisations, proof that you have consented to its release must be presented to this practice by the organisation requesting the information.
In some situations, your health information will be disclosed without your consent. These situations would include:
- Emergency situations.
- When disclosure is required by law. Doctors are sometimes ordered to produce documents by subpoena.
- Disclosure of information about a patient to fulfil an obligation under your surgeon’s or Gold Coast Spine’s professional indemnity insurance.
- Providing information to Medicare and your private health fund for billing and rebate purposes.
The health information collected about you will be used in some cases for purposes beyond providing health care. This would include professional accreditation, quality assessments, clinical audits, clinical research, billing and so forth. In most of these cases your anonymity will be maintained. In particular, when your health information is used as a part of your surgeon’s research your identity will not be part of the research in any way.
All patient information held at this practice relevant to the functions of providing health care will be maintained in a form that is accurate, complete, and up to date.
The storage, use and, where necessary, transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects your privacy. It is necessary for your surgeon to keep your health information as long as required by law or is prudent for administrative requirements.
Access to Your Information
You may request access to your personal health information held by Gold Coast Spine. Your request will need to be in writing and we have a request form to complete should you wish to request access.
Access to your health information will generally be by means of obtaining copies of your medical records held by our practice. Because of the security and cost issues involved, access will generally not be provided in the form of reading your records. Also, in view of the administrative time and costs involved in providing access to your records, a fee for access may be charged. An Administrative Fee of $11.00 applies, as well as the cost of $1.10 per page photocopied.
There are some circumstances in which access to your records may be denied. In these cases we will give you our written reasons for denying access.
Amendment of Your Health Records
There may be instances where you believe that the personal information we hold in relation to you is incorrect. In these cases, we need you to put your concerns in writing. We will consider the information you have provided. If we agree that the information held is incorrect, we will amend your records. If we do not agree, we will add your version of the information to your health record.
You have a right to be dealt with anonymously where this is lawful and practicable. We will endeavour to ensure your anonymity is maintained in our waiting room. However, for Medicare and insurance purposes it is not practicable to be an anonymous patient at Gold Coast Spine. It could also be dangerous to your health to be treated anonymously by your surgeon.
Transborder Flow of Information
Your personal information is protected Australia wide by privacy laws. We will take all reasonable steps to protect your privacy if your information is to be sent interstate or outside Australia.
Please do not hesitate to discuss with us any concerns or questions you have about any issues relating to the privacy of your personal information. You may wish to discuss this with your surgeon or Gold Coast Spine’s General Manager, Ms Sandra Walter.
If we are unable to satisfy your concerns, you may contact the Federal Privacy Commissioner. The contact details are:
The Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 1042
Telephone: 1300 363 992