Our practice is committed to best practice in relation to the management of information we collect. This practice has developed a Policy to protect client privacy in compliance with privacy legislation.
Our policy is to inform you of:
1. the kinds of personal information that we collect and hold;
2. how we collect and hold personal information;
3. the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
4. how you may access the clients’ personal information and seek the correction of that information;
5. how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles and how we will deal with such a complaint.
What kinds of personal information do we collect?
The type of information we may collect and hold includes personal information about:
1. The clients’ name, address, date of birth, email and contact details;
2. Medicare number;
3. The clients’ health information and other sensitive & personal information is collected as part of providing psychological service;
4. Insurance claim information, if relevant.
How do we collect and hold personal information?
We will generally collect personal information:
1. from the client directly when the client provides their details to us;
2. from a person responsible for the client;
3. from third parties where the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 and the Privacy Act 1988 or other law allows it.
Where do we hold the clients’ personal information?
Physical files are locked and electronic data is kept secure.
Why do we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information?
In general, we may collect, hold, use and disclose the clients’ personal information for the following purposes:
1. The clients’ personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological services, which includes assessing, diagnosing and treating the client’s presenting issue. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.
2. to communicate with the client
3. to comply with our legal obligations
4. to help us manage our accounts and administrative services.
Consequences of not providing personal information
How can you access and correct the clients’ personal information?
Subject to the exceptions set out in the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 and the Privacy Act 1988, the client may seek access to and correction of the personal information which we hold. The psychologist may discuss the contents, subject to the exceptions of the aforementioned Acts. If satisfied that personal information is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete, reasonable steps will be taken in the circumstances to ensure that this information is corrected. An appointment may need to be made and fees charged (if necessary) for clarification purposes.
The contact person in this practice is Holly Kirwan, Principal Psychologist and Director.
Disclosure of personal information
Clients’ personal information will remain confidential except when:
1. It is subpoenaed by a court; or
2. Failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of Northside Psychology, place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
3. The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
a) provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g., a GP or a lawyer; or
b) discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
c) disclose the information in another way; or
4. you would reasonably expect the clients’ personal information to be disclosed to another professional or agency (e.g. the clients’ GP) and disclosure of the clients’ personal information to that third party is for a purpose which is directly related to the primary purpose for which the clients’ personal information was collected; or
5. disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
A client’s personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients, unless the client consents or such disclosure is otherwise required by law. Clients’ personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
How can you make a privacy related complaint?
We will take reasonable steps to protect the security of the clients’ information and comply with our legal obligations. Our staff are trained and required to respect the clients’ privacy. We take reasonable steps to protect information held from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
If you have any questions about privacy-related issues or wish to complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles or the handling of the clients’ personal information by us, please contact our Privacy Officer.
You may lodge the clients’ complaint in writing. Any complaint will be investigated by the Privacy Officer and you will be notified of the making of a decision in relation to the clients’ complaint as soon as is practicable after it has been made, usually within 30 days.
Upon request you can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles, which describe the clients’ rights and how the clients’ personal information should be handled.
Ultimately, if you wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, disclosure of, or access to, the clients’ personal information, you may do so with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by phone on 1300 363 992, online at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint or by post to:
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Updates to this Policy
This Policy will be reviewed from time to time to take account of new laws and technology, changes to our operations and other necessary developments.
Your treating Psychologist may discuss your case at clinical supervision with other psychologists or health professionals. The Director of Northside Psychology may review your treatment progress with your treating Psychologist. The Director and any consultants are also legally bound to keep the information confidential.