PATIENT INFO

Access and Privacy Policy

Access
The purpose of this Policy is to set out how Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd and its clinic Era Health will provide access to your personal information. The Policy is part of our Privacy Policy and our desire to provide for, maintain and give effect to your right to privacy.

Overriding principles
At all times the conduct under this Policy will be governed by the following principles:
• all requests for access will be treated seriously;
• all requests will be dealt with promptly;
• all requests will be dealt with in a confidential manner.

Form of Access
Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health will provide access by allowing you to inspect, take notes of or receive copies or printouts of the personal information that the Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health holds about you. You can make your request in writing by filling out the form supplied by us.
To obtain access you will have to provide proof of your identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is provided only to the correct individuals and that the privacy of others is not undermined.

When will Access be denied?
Access will be denied if:
• the request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request;
• providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to life or health of a person;
• providing access would create an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
• the request is frivolous and vexatious;
• the request relates to legal proceedings between Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health and you;
• providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request;
• access would be unlawful;
• denial of access is authorised or required by law;
• access would prejudice law enforcement activities;
• access discloses a ‘commercially sensitive’ decision making process or information; or
• any other reason that is provided for in the Health Privacy Principles (HPPs) set out in the Victorian Health Records Act and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out under the Commonwealth Privacy Act.

Where possible, Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health will favour providing access. It may do so by providing access to the appropriate parts of, and not the entire record.

Time
We will take all reasonable steps to provide access within 45 days of your request.

Costs and charges
Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health will, where possible, impose the charges in accordance with the Victorian Health Records Act and the Health Records Regulations. Please ask us about these fees.

Privacy Policy
Era Health is the health clinic and trading name of Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd,. Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health takes its obligations under the Victorian Health Records Act 2001 and the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 seriously and takes all reasonable steps in order to comply and protect the privacy of the personal information that we hold. This policy sets out how we do so.

Collection of information
Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health collects and holds personal health information about you. Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health collects information from you so that we may properly assess, diagnose, treat and be proactive in your health care needs. All members of the professional 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 health care including treating clinicians, pathology services, radiology services and other specialists outside this clinic. This may occur through referral to other health professionals, or for medical/health tests and in the reports or results returned to us following the referrals.
• Disclosure to enable recording on health/medical registers (example the diabetes register or pap smear register).
• Administrative purposes in running our clinic, including our insurer or indemnity provider, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies.
• Billing purposes, including providing information to your health insurance fund, the Health Insurance Commission (Medicare) and other organisation responsible for the financial aspects of your care.
• Conducting research.
• Assisting with training and education of our and other health professionals.

In most cases we will obtain the information directly from you or your treating health professionals.

Information Quality
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.

Storage
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 and materials stored and generated in hard copy.

Access to your personal information
Access will be provided in accordance with our Access Policy. If you require access to your personal information please contact the reception staff.

Contract
We do not contract out data storage or processing functions.
Legal reasons why we collect the personal information
Some information we collect is in order to comply with our legal obligations [eg Mandatory Reporting or Accreditation requirements].
What happens if you choose not to provide the information?
You are not obliged to give us your personal information. However, if you choose not to provide Southern Medical Services Pty Ltd/Era Health with the personal details 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 judgement of the clinician and consistent with law, might restrict access to the child’s information by parents or guardians.

Complaints
If you have any complaints about our privacy practices or wish to make a complaint about how your personal information is managed please contact either the reception staff, the practice manager, business manager or one of the clinicians. All complaints will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible.
A privacy complaint relates to any concern or dispute that you have with our privacy practices as it relates to your personal information. This could include matters such as how personal information is collected, stored, used, disclosed or how access is provided. We prefer that your complaint is in writing.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our handling of your complaint you may contact the Victorian Health Services Commissioner or the Federal Privacy Commissioner.