Health service providers are independent
Vital Healthcare is in the business of providing exceptional clinical care for all those who require general practice services. In conducting its business Vital Healthcare makes its premises available to health service providers. The health service providers and Vital Healthcare are not partners and are not in an employee-employer relationship and each health service provider, in providing health services and doing other things, is at all times an independent contractor and not doing so as the servant or agent or otherwise on behalf of Vital Healthcare.
All patient records are the property of Vital Healthcare (and not the property of either the patient or the health service provider). This requirement assists, if the need arises, other health service providers in the medical centre in continuing the management of a patient’s needs.
What type of personal information is collected and how is it collected?
Vital Healthcare collects personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, contact numbers, and Medicare number. Commonly this is collected by a clerical employee of Vital Healthcare, such as a receptionist. Other personal information, particularly health information, is collected by the independent health service providers in a medical centre and recorded on the patient records that belong to Vital Healthcare. Sometimes health information is received, and placed on those patient records, from health service providers who are external to the medical centre. Examples of this are records of specialists or pathology reports.
Why do we collect your personal information?
The importance of health service providers sharing personal information about a patient, during the provision of health services to that patient, is widely accepted by the community. In the health sector, the flow of personal information usually occurs in accordance with concepts such as sharing within the “treating team” or on a “need to know basis”. Under this approach health service providers share necessary information to deliver optimum patient care. For such health service providers, the use and disclosure of personal information is already bound by codes of practice of their professions. Vital Healthcare’s purpose in holding your personal information (including health information) is:
- Provision of health services to you
to enable that information to be available to those health service providers (whether in the medical centre or external to it) who need access to the information in order for such health service providers to provide health services to you; and
to enable Vital Healthcare to charge, bill and collect fees, on behalf of health service providers, in respect of the health services those health service providers provide you; and
to enable Vital Healthcare to charge, bill and collect fees from health service providers in respect of the non-health services Vital Healthcare provides to those health service providers; and
to enable Vital Healthcare to gain an understanding of the types of health services, in general, that are needed by patients at large so that the health services available at a medical centre keep meeting patient needs; and
to enable Vital Healthcare to implement management functions in respect of the medical centre, including
service-monitoring, quality assurance activities, complaint handling, planning, evaluation and accreditation activities; and
- Regulatory purposes
to fulfil all legal and other regulatory requirements of Vital Healthcare, including disclosure to a court
or similar body, lawyers or insurers, where court or similar proceedings are on foot or anticipated ; and
to hold patient records available for health service providers where they are required to maintain such records
under legal and other regulatory requirements; and
- Supplying bulk de-identified health information
to enable Vital Healthcare to provide third parties with a quantity of de-identified health information. Before any health information is provided to a third party it is de-identified, that is, the name and address of the patient and any other information that could otherwise allow an individual to be identified, is removed from the health information. That de-identified information is then aggregated with the de-identified health information in respect of other patients. The third party (eg, Primary Healthcare network) uses the bulk de-identified information it receives from Vital Healthcare for the business purposes of the third party (eg, analysis of statistics, planning and management of their health services business).
Disclosure of personal information
Vital Healthcare will not disclose your personal information to any third party, except in the following circumstances:
it is for the purpose of provision of health services to you, as described above; or
it is for a regulatory purpose described above; or
it is part of bulk de-identified health information, as described above; or
it is otherwise required by law.
How you can access your personal information
On request, you may have access to your personal information held by Vital Healthcare, except in circumstances where access may be denied under the Privacy Act or other law. Examples of these circumstances are:
- where providing access will pose an unreasonable impact on the privacy of another individual; or
- where your request for access is frivolous or vexatious; or
- where the information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between Vital Healthcare and you, and the information would not be accessible by the process of discovery in those legal proceedings; or
- where providing access would be unlawful, would pose a threat to the life or health of an individual, may prejudice an investigation of possible unlawful activity, may prejudice enforcement of laws, or denying access is specifically authorised by law.
To make a request for your personal information, please contact the Practice Manager at Vital Healthcare in writing. Vital Healthcare will endeavour to acknowledge a request for access to personal information within 14 days and provide the information requested within 30 days. If personal information is provided to you as the result of a request, you will be charged a fee for costs incurred in providing that information such as photocopying, the administration time involved in processing your request, and postage. If access is denied Vital Healthcare will provide you with reasons for its decision.
How you can correct your personal information
If you believe that the personal information Vital Healthcare holds about you is inaccurate, incomplete or not up-to-date please, let Vital Healthcare know. Provided Vital Healthcare agrees with you, Vital Healthcare will correct it. In the case of health information you allege is incorrect, Vital Healthcare will consult relevant health service providers about the matter. If Vital Healthcare does not agree with you, Vital Healthcare will place a statement of what you allege is correct where that information is kept and accessed.
How to contact us
If you have any queries or complaints regarding our collection, use or management of your personal information please contact the Practice Manager at Vital Healthcare.