Carbal Medical Services’
Current as of 24 November 2023
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of Carbal, you provide consent for our GPs and Carbal staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff that needs to see your personal information will have access to it. If we need to use your information for anything else, we will seek additional consent from you to do this.
Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?
Carbal will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (e.g. staff training).
What is a patient health record?
Medical records, whether electronic or not, are a collection of information about a patient’s healthcare that are essential for his or her present and future care (WHO 2001) and are covered by s.3 of the Health Records Act 2001 (AustLII 2012).
What personal information do we collect?
We may collect personal and/or sensitive Information from you (“your information”):
2. Sensitive Information is any information or opinion about you which is health information, or which relates to your racial or ethnic origin, political opinion, religious and/or philosophical beliefs, sexual preferences or practices, or criminal record. Sensitive Information collected by us, could include the following:
- medical information including medical history, medications, allergies, adverse events, immunisations, social history, family history and risk factors;
- Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes; and/or
- healthcare identifiers; and/or
- health fund details.
Dealing with us anonymously
You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.
How do we collect your personal information?
Carbal will collect your personal information:
- When you make your first appointment Carbal staff will collect your personal and demographic information via your registration.
- During the course of providing medical services, we may collect further personal information.
Information can also be collected through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record system, e.g. via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary. Carbal participates in these eHealth services.
- We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email, telephone us, make an appointment or communicate with us using social media.
- In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
- your guardian or responsible person
- other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals, community health services and pathology and diagnostic imaging services
- your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (as necessary).
Who do we share your personal information with?
We sometimes share your personal information:
- with third parties who work with Carbal for business purposes, such as accreditation agencies or information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs and this policy
- with other healthcare providers
- when it is required or authorised by law (e.g. court subpoenas)
- when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
- to assist in locating a missing person
- to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
- for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
- when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (e.g. some diseases require mandatory notification)
- during the course of providing medical services, through Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (eTP), MyHealth Record system (e.g. via Shared Health Summary, Event Summary).
Only people that need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing medical services or as otherwise described in this policy, Carbal will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.
We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that is permitted by law) without your consent.
Carbal will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying Carbal in writing.
Carbal uses document automation technologies, particularly so that only the relevant medical information is included in referral letters that are sent to a third party involved in the patient’s care.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information is stored at Carbal as an electronic record only.
Carbal stores all personal information securely. Our computer systems are protected through the use of firewalls, individual passwords, and storage of all server equipment in a secured environment. All staff and contractors are required to sign confidentiality agreements.
What happens if there is a Data Breach?
A data breach is when Personal and/or Sensitive Information held by Carbal is lost or subjected to unauthorised access, modification, disclosure, or other misuse or interference. Examples of a data breach are when a device containing personal information of clients is lost or stolen, an entity’s database containing personal information is hacked or an entity mistakenly provides personal information to the wrong person. A ‘data breach’ may also constitute a breach of the Privacy Act, however this will depend on whether the circumstances giving rise to the data breach also constitute a breach of one or more of the APPs.
Carbal has a data breach response plan. Our actions in the first 24 hours after discovering a data breach are crucial to the success of our response. A quick response can substantially decrease the impact on the affected individuals.
How can you access and correct your personal information at Carbal?
You have the right to access and correct your personal information.
Carbal acknowledges patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing addressed to the practice manager and Carbal will respond within 30 days. There may be a cost for us to provide hard copies of any documents, this cost would be minimal.
Carbal will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify your personal information held by Carbal is correct and up-to-date. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to [email protected]
How can you lodge a privacy related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at Carbal?
We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We will then attempt to resolve it in accordance with our resolution procedure. All complaints or concerns will be responded to within 30 days, below are the contact details;
General Manager, Carbal Medical Services
PO Box 1879, Toowoomba, QLD, 4350
Ph: 07 4688 0500
You may also contact the OAIC. Generally the OAIC will require you to give them time to respond, before they will investigate. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 336 992.
Policy review statement
This policy will be reviewed and updated to ensure it is in accordance with any legislative changes. Carbal will inform its patients of any changes via our website, email or social media profiles.