and secure your health information.
2. Definition of health information
For health service providers such as the specialists and staff who work for Vision Eye Institute, “health information” is all identifying “personal information” collected to provide a health service in relation to medical and other
health details through which the individual’s identity can be ascertained. Typically, for health service providers, it includes:
(a) patient symptoms;
(b) examination and test results;
(d) treatment and care information; and
(e) admission and registration information.
3. Who to contact
If you have any queries with respect to this Privacy Statement, please telephone the Vision Eye Institute Privacy Officer, the National Director of Nursing on 03 8844 4000.
4. Why we collect health information
4.1 Why we need health information
We are a provider of health services and therefore need to collect certain information from you, for us to provide services to you. Your health record can help us to quickly identify which courses of action are likely to be safe and effective for you and to reduce the likelihood of repeating tests that you may have had in the past. We will only ask you for information, where we believe it is necessary for us to know that information in the course of providing those services. Further, we will only collect your health information where some specified requirements are met, including in particular:
(a) with your consent (note, willingly provided information is usually sufficient to imply consent to collection of information); or
(b) the collection is required, authorised or permitted by law or law enforcement purposes; or
(c) the information is received through an appropriate disclosure by another organisation such as another health service provider with your consent; or
(d) the collection is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to life, health or safety of an individual or the public.
4.2 What happens if you do not provide health information
If you do not provide us with accurate or complete information when we request it, we may not be able to provide you with a proper level of service.
5. Use & disclosure what we do with your health information
We use and disclose your health information for the following purposes.
(a) to assist your treating team (doctors, nursing staff and other professionals) in providing health care to you.
(b) to process private health fund claims.
(c) to provide necessary follow up treatment and ongoing care.
(d) for our internal administrative requirements, including billing.
(e) accreditation activities
(f) to address liability indemnity arrangements with insurers, medical defence organisations and lawyers.
(g) for the defence of anticipated or existing legal proceedings.
(h) we may use de-identified patient information in our database or document review as part of the process of measuring outcomes and quality improvement.
6. How we maintain and manage your health information
6.1 Who may view your health information
We will only grant access to others to view your health information where we believe it is necessary,
and in your best interests, for those people to view your health information.
In general, the following people may view your health information:
(a) our employees;
(b) our subcontractors;
(c) any other health service providers we may deal with on your behalf.
6.2 When can information be disclosed without your consent
We will only disclose your health information to a third party with your consent, unless:
(a) the disclosure is directly related to the primary purpose for collection; or
(b) we have your consent to that disclosure; or
(c) in an emergency situation where release of information is necessary to aid medical treatment; or
(d) we are required by law to disclose the information (e.g., reporting of communicable diseases)
7. Data quality
All patient information held by this practice relevant to the functions of providing health care will be maintained in a form that is accurate, complete and up to date.
8. Data security: where is your health information stored and for how long?
We may store your health information in both hard copy and on computer. The storage, use and where necessary, transfer of personal health information will be undertaken in a secure manner that protects patient privacy. Hard copy information is kept under lock and key. Information stored on computer is password protected. We will keep your health record for a minimum of 7 years after your visit. After that time, if the record is no longer necessary, it will be disposed of securely as required by law.
8.1 Updating your health information
If at any time you believe that any of your health information that we store is not accurate or is out of date, please let us know by contacting the Practice Manager at the clinic you attend. All Clinic contact details can be found on our website: http://www.visioneyeinstitute.com.au/
Vision Eye Institute has made this and other material available to patients to inform them of our policies on management of personal information. On request, each Clinic will let patients know, generally, what sort of personal information we hold, for what purposes, and how we collect, hold and disclose that information.
10. How you may access your health information
Patients may request access to their personal health information held by this practice. Where necessary, patients will be given the opportunity to amend any personal information held that is incorrect. There are some circumstances in which access is restricted, and in these cases reasons for denying access will be explained. A charge may be payable where the Clinic incurs costs in providing access. The Clinic acknowledges the right of children to privacy of their health information. Based on the professional judgement of the Doctor and consistent with the law, it might at times be necessary to restrict access to personal health information by parents or guardians. We will use our best efforts to take less than 45 days to respond to your request.
11. When we may withhold access to your health information
11.1 When we can withhold your information
We may withhold access to your health information in a number of circumstances. These include where:
(a) providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person;
(b) providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
(c) the information is subject to confidentiality where the person who provided the information to us did so expressly on the condition that it remains confidential;
(d) the request is vexatious or frivolous;
(e) the information relates to legal proceedings between us and the information would not be required to be disclosed to a court;
(f) we are in commercial negotiations with you and the information would reveal our intentions;
(g) providing access would be unlawful or we are required by a law to withhold access; or
(h) providing access could prejudice the investigation or detection by our organisation or by a government body of an unlawful activity or some serious or improper misconduct. Where we do withhold your health information, we may instead choose to give you a summary of that information.
We will limit the use of identifiers (e.g. Medicare numbers) assigned to patients by Commonwealth Government agencies to those uses necessary to fulfil our obligations to those agencies.
A patient has a right to be dealt with anonymously, provided that this is lawful and practicable. However, in the medical context this is not likely to be practical or possible for Medicare and insurance rebate purposes.
14. Trans border data flows
We will take steps to protect patient privacy if information is to be sent interstate or outside Australia.
Patients should feel free to discuss any concerns, questions or complaints about any issues related to the privacy of their personal information with their Doctor or the Complaints Manager of their clinic. If a patient is dissatisfied, the Federal Privacy Commissioner handles complaints. Any patient or person making a complaint on behalf of the patient will not be adversely affected because a complaint has been made.
17. More information
If you require further information, in the first instance please contact our Complaints Officer at your Vision Eye Institute clinic. If you are unhappy with the resolution offered then the complaint may be escalated to the Vision Institute Company Secretary via telephone (03) 8844 4000 or in writing at Level 5, 390 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004.The VEI Feedback Policy is available upon request.