This practice has strict guidelines on confidentiality, patient consent, consent for a 3rd party to obtain information, transferring of health information and access and security of personal information.
It adheres to The National Privacy Principles Act and the Health Records and Information Act.
Why and when your consent is necessary
When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our GPs and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible healthcare. Only staff who need 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?
Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide healthcare services to you. Our primary 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 personal information do we collect?
The information we will collect about you includes your:
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?
Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.
When, why, and with whom do we share your personal information?
We sometimes share your personal information:
Only people who 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, our practice 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 are permitted by law) without your consent.
Our practice 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 our practice in writing.
How do we store and protect your personal information?
Your personal information is stored in our practice by electronic records.
Our practice stores all personal information securely and we ensure your information is protected to the highest degree. We have a password/ username system for our medical software program as well as our IT has set up extensive security settings on our network. All staff has signed a confidentiality agreement before commencing work.
How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.
Our practice acknowledges that patients may request access to their medical records. We require you to put this request in writing and signed our release of medical records form. Our practice will respond within a reasonable time; this could take up to 1 week depending on if your usual doctor is available to approve the release. There may be fees involved in the release of your medical records; please discuss this with reception.
Our practice 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 that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and you should make such requests in writing to us.
How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?
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. Contact details are below. We attempt to respond to complaints in a reasonable time frame but on occasions this may take up to 30 days.
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 363 992.
Privacy and our website
Collection of information
Two types of online data are collected:
Visitor logs and statistics
The main purpose for collecting this information is to provide statistical information used for website and system administration. The information does not identify individual users but does identify the computer that is used to access our sites.
Logged information is not disclosed outside of our organisation. We do not attempt to identify individuals from these records unless it is necessary to the investigation of a breach of law.
How do we use document automation technologies?
As we ensure that your privacy always remains our utmost concern, Electronic Documents generated by our practice such as referrals, medical certificates, etc. utilise appropriate and secure document automation technologies.
Our Practice utilise a secure medical software, which has a word processing application to generate documents as and when required. This Word processing application has algorithms to automatically import strictly relevant medical information only, required for the patient and for the documentation.
The medical software has proper security authentication protocols with unique user credentials which can only be accessed by authorised Practice staff according to their roles and responsibilities.
Consent telehealth consultations- Once clinical appropriateness is confirmed and the patient and GP have decided to proceed, seek prior consent from the patient and document this in the patient’s health record held by the practice. Seek consent from patients prior to a consultation if a third party will be present during the consultation at either the specialist or patient end of a consultation. Document such consent in the patient’s health record held by the practice
Policy review statement
Last Reviewed June 2023
We also currently offer telehealth phone consults with our GP’s. If you are unable to get in to see your doctor or have symptoms of COVID 19 we can do your consult over the phone.
Please call our reception team and ask for more information or to book an appointment. Please note you must have attended the practice within the last 12 months to qualify for a telehealth visit
There are multiple ways in which the practice communicates with patients and third parties.
Communication can occur through the following channels:
Face to face
This can be via consultation with your doctor or nurse or interactions with other staff members. i.e.: Practice Manager or reception staff.
Patients are able to contact the practice via telephone between the hours of Monday- Friday 7:00am-11:00pm, Weekends & Public Holidays 8:00am -11:00pm.
As the first point of contact, receptionists must review the triage support guide to ensure they are correctly assessing patient’s needs and concerns. Receptionists will often need to ask questions to determine that the patient receives the most appropriate care, at the most appropriate time.
Phone calls from patients requesting to speak to the doctor will not generally be put through at the time of the call. This is to minimise disruption to the doctor as they are usually in consultation with another patient and respectfully not wanting to interrupt their consultation. Doctors may take phone calls if time permits.
Reception staff will ask the patient to briefly explain the reason for the call and will determine if the doctor should be interrupted or if a message can be given to the doctor to return the call at a later time. This may be throughout the day or after the doctor has finished consulting for the day. Where clinically significant information is discussed, a note will be made in the patient’s file.
Faxes received that are patient related are imported directly into the Doctor’s inbox which is then put into the patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. Any urgent patient related faxes are immediately handed to the doctor or if that doctor is not available another doctor in the practice will review the fax. All non-patient related faxes are given to the relevant staff member.
All outgoing faxes will be sent to the relevant place on request from the doctor and then saved into the patients file with a note detailing where it was sent and by whom.
Email is not a secure form of communication and we do not use this to communicate personal information to patients without their consent. Whilst we make every effort to keep your information secure it is important for patients to be aware of the risks associated with electronic communication, in that the information could potentially be compromised and accessed by someone other than the intended recipient. Patients must be aware that any communication they direct to the surgery via email is also NOT secure and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Patients communicating through email do so at their own risk.
If you do choose to contact the surgery via email this will be considered as patient consent to reply via email.
We endeavour to reply to all emails within 1 business day. Our emails are checked on a regular basis, however they are not constantly monitored. If you have an issue that requires urgent attention, we request that you contact the practice via telephone.
SMS messages are sent for a variety of health management purposes.
These may include:
– Appointment reminders – a reminder message will be sent the day prior to your appointment.
– Health reminders (e.g., cervical screening/care plans/Immunisations etc).
We need to ensure that your mobile number is up to date at each visit to ensure that this information is sent to the correct number. Patients must be aware that if another person can access their mobile phone, then the confidentiality of these communications cannot be protected by the practice.
Letters are often sent offering services available to eligible patients and for health reminders and recalls for patients who do not have a mobile number or who have opted out of our electronic messaging system.
Incoming mail is collected and opened each day. Letters received that are patient related are directly imported to the doctor’s inbox which is then saved to the patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. All remaining letters are provided to the addressee.
Our Facebook page updates practice information and health promotions.
This page however, is intended for announcements only by Harvest Lakes Medical Centre and not for the provision of individual medical advice. This page is not regularly monitored for comments. If you have any queries or questions, we ask that you please contact the practice via telephone.
Your doctor or the Practice Nurse will attempt to contact you immediately via contact details supplied. If our attempts at contact are unsuccessful, a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us urgently for an appointment.
Your doctor or the Practice Nurse will attempt to contact you via phone to advise that you need to make an appointment to see your doctor. If our attempts to contact you are unsuccessful, a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us for an appointment.
If your results are NORMAL we will NOT contact you. You are welcome to phone us to check if your results have been returned to us, but you will have to make an appointment to discuss these results.
Patients are contacted for recalls and reminders. If our attempts are unsuccessful a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us for an appt.
Confidential information is not included in these letters. All personal information is stored on a program specific, encrypted computer database.
The practice is committed to supporting the doctors, nurses and administration staff to participate in ongoing education.
Did Not Attend (DNA) & Cancellation Policy
Due to high demand for appointments and the high number of non-attendance and cancellations for GP appointments, we will charge a fee of $40 per consultation or if a double consult, a fee of $80, that is not attended or not cancelled within 4 hours of the appointment time.
If this account is not paid, a letter of suspension of services and the outstanding account will be issued. This letter will see access to all services suspended until accounts are paid.
We have many requests for appointments everyday and hope by introducing this policy, patients will consider cancelling their appointments so that others may access them if required.
If you have any concerns, please ask the reception staff.
Home Visits and Out of Hours Services
Harvest Lakes Medical Centre provides locum services for those patients who require a home visit, During the clinic opening hours, The Practice GPs will offer home visits at their discretion. GPs offer home visits when it is appropriate, depending on circumstances and considering safety of all staff. To Obtain a home visit during clinic hours it needs to be safe and reasonable for the GP,and within a 5 Km radius of the clinic.
If for any reason our doctor is unable to come and see you and you can’t come in to the practice, please contact Night Dr (Fees May Apply) on PH: 1300 644 483
Harvest Lakes Medical Centre does offer a walk-in service with some exceptions. The wait time for walk-ins varies and depends on how on time the Doctors are running. Please note we will refuse walk-ins if the Doctors are running late and do not have the capacity to fit in walk-In patients. Same day appointments are available within our opening hours. To book an appointment you can call the surgery, or you can come in and enquire when the next appointment is available. You can book appointments online via our websites or via Hotdoc.
Your feedback is important to us and Patient Feedback forms are available at reception. Alternatively, forward your comments to email@example.com
If for any reason you are not satisfied with the service you have received and do not wish to discuss this with us, the following information is for the state health complaint agency: