New Health Privacy Guidance for GPs
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner Office has developed 5 information sheets for health practitioners in the private sector. The information sheets contain a page of key messages with more detailed advice and examples:
Fees that can be charged for patients to access their records
Use and disclosure of health information for managing a health service
|Sharing health information within a treating team
|Sharing health information with relatives of an incapacitated patient
|Denial of access to health information due to a serious threat to life or health
Denial of access to health information due to a serious threat to life or health
The federal Privacy Act requires health service providers in the private sector to give a patient access to their health information if the individual requests it. However, access may be denied to the individual if an exception listed in the Privacy Act applies. In the case of health information such as medical records, one exception permits a provider to deny the individual access to their information, where giving access 'would pose a serious threat to the life or health of any individual'. However, these circumstances arise only occasionally.
View website address: http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/IS21_08.html
Disclosure of health information and impaired capacity
There will often be times where a patient is unable to give consent to the disclosure of their health information to loved ones. Under the federal Privacy Act, doctors and other health service providers may share the information of an incapacitated patient with family, a partner or others 'responsible' for the patient - either to provide care or treatment, or for compassionate reasons. However, such disclosures may not go against a patient's known wishes.
View website address: http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/IS24_08.html
Fees for access to health information under the Privacy Act
The federal Privacy Act requires health service providers in the private sector to give a patient access to their health information if requested, unless a listed exception applies.
View website address: http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/IS22_08.html
National Privacy Principles
This information sheet provides the text of the ten National Privacy Principles from Schedule 3 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) as amended to 14 September 2006.
Sharing health information to provide a health service
The federal Privacy Act is consistent with good treatment practices and promotes appropriate information flows within the health sector, by building on existing relationships of trust between health professionals and patients.
View website address: http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/IS25_08.html
Use and disclosure of health information for management, funding and monitoring of a health service
The federal Privacy Act is consistent with good treatment practices and permits appropriate information flows within the private health care sector, including for the management, funding and monitoring of a health service. It achieves this by building on existing relationships of trust between health professionals and patients. The Privacy Act sets out 10 privacy principles with which private sector health service providers must comply.
View website address: http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/IS23_08.html
Source: Primary Health Care Research & Information Service (PHC RIS) http://www.phcris.org.au/
Hardcopies of the information sheets
Hardcopies of the information sheets can be requested by calling the Office’s Enquiries Line on 1300 363 992.
The new information sheets are available alongside existing materials at http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/index.html#I.
The new FAQs are also available at http://www.privacy.gov.au/faqs/hf/index.html