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Privacy & Physiotherapy

Aim

This leaflet aims to explain clearly how personal information about you and your health is recorded and managed in this practice. Your Physiotherapist will be happy to discuss this with you.

Your Personal Health Information

Your Physiotherapist needs information about your past and present health in order to provide you with high quality care. This practice will make sure that you are able to discuss your health with your Physiotherapist in private. Information is called "personal health information" if it concerns your health, medical history, past or future medical care and if someone reading it would be able to identify you. This practice follows the guidelines from Federal and State Privacy Legislation. This means that your personal health information is kept private and secure.

Your Medical Records

Your Physiotherapist will do his/her best to make sure that your medical records;

  • are accurate, comprehensive, well-organised and legible are up to date
  • have enough information to allow another Physiotherapist to care for you
  • do not contain offensive or irrelevant comments about you
  • contain a summary of your care; and can be used to remind you, with your permission, to return for follow up, check ups and reviews.

Your Physiotherapist will only collect information which is relevant to your medical care. If you are uncertain as to why information is being requested, please ask.

Providing your information to other Physiotherapists

The Physiotherapists in this practice respect your right to decide how your personal health information is used or disclosed (for example to other Physiotherapists). In all but exceptional circumstances, personal information that identifies you will be sent to other people only with your consent. Gaining your consent is the guiding principle. In this practice, it is customary for all Physiotherapists to have access to all the medical records. If you have any concerns about other Physiotherapists at this practice being able to see your records discuss your concerns with your Physiotherapist. It is important that other people involved in your care, such as other Physiotherapists or health professionals, are informed of relevant parts of your medical history so they can best care for you. Your Physiotherapist will let you know before this occurs. If you have any concerns about this discuss them with your Physiotherapist.

Providing your information to others

Your Physiotherapist will not disclose your personal health information to a third party unless:

  • you have consented to the disclosure
  • your Physiotherapist is legally obliged to disclose the information (e.g., notification of certain infectious diseases or suspected child abuse, or a subpoena or court order)
  • the information is necessary to obtain Medicare payments or other health insurance rebates
  • there is an overriding public health and safety interest in the release of the information.

There are times when disclosure is necessary for the Physiotherapists in the practice to carry out a review of their practice for the purpose of improving the quality of care provided and the activity has been approved under Commonwealth or State legislation. This provides safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information provided. In any of the above cases only information which is necessary to achieve the objective will be provided.

Using health information for improvement and research

We use patient health information to assist in improving the quality of care we give to all our clients by reviewing the treatments used in the practice. We may also use information that does not identify you in research projects to improve health care in the community.

You will normally be informed if your information is to be used for this purpose and will have the opportunity to refuse to have your unidentified information used in this way.

The publication of research results which use your information will never be in a form that enables you to be identified.

In some circumstances, where the research serves an important public interest, identifiable medical records can be used for medical research without your consent under guidelines issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council. This research must be approved by an official ethics committee.

Security of information in the practice

Many medical practices will transfer their medical records to computer systems in the next few years.

We will ensure that any of your personal information that is put on computer will be kept private in the same way as occurs with paper records. This will protect your record from unauthorised access.

Your access to your health information

You have access to the information contained in your medical record. You may ask your physiotherapist about any aspect of your health care including information in your record. We believe that sharing information is important for good communication between you and your physiotherapist and for good health care.

Information in your record can be provided to you by way of an accurate and up to date summary of your care, for instance if you are moving away and are transferring to a new doctor. Do not hesitate to ask your physiotherapist if you want a summary of your care for any reason. If you request a summary or direct access to your full medical record, your physiotherapist will need to consider the risk of any physical or mental harm to you or any other person which may result from disclosure of your health information, and may need to remove any information that may impact on the privacy of other individuals.

Your physiotherapist will be pleased to provide a full explanation of the health summary or medical record provided.

Depending on what is involved, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of providing the information.

Resolving your concerns regarding the privacy of your health information

If you have any concerns regarding the privacy of your health information or regarding the accuracy of the information held by the practice, you should discuss these with your doctor. Inaccurate information will be corrected or your concerns noted in the records. For legal reasons, the original notes will be retained.

Further information on Privacy Legislation is available from:

Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner 1300 363 992