A guide to patient information privacy at GV Health
What happens to your information?
GV Health values – Compassion, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Teamwork and Ethical Behaviour – guide our staff in all activities, including how we handle your personal information. GV Health staff manage your information in a confidential, secure and appropriate manner.
When you become a patient of client of GV Health a record is created using details such as your name, address, contact details and other information including your condition, the results of tests and the outcome of your treatment. Each time you attend GV Health service new information is added to your record. Electronic images such as clinical photography and telemedicine are used where they may assist us in providing treatment to you. Information will also be recorded on our patient administration system.
Information held by GV Health about you is treated in a protected, confidential manner and stored securely (both paper based, electronic and digital information)
Why is this information necessary?
We collect and keep information to make sure every health care professional involved in your care has all the details and is able to help you the best way they can. Your previous treatment details can help us to identify which treatments are likely to be safe and effective for you and reduces the likelihood of repeating tests that you have already had in the past.
The information may also be used for research and planning. This helps us provide better healthcare overall. No personal, identifiable information (apart from as described in this leaflet) will leave the hospital without your prior consent. Research activities follow strict guidelines and all research activities must be approved by the GV Health Research and Ethics Committee.
Information may be shared with other health care professionals both within and outside GV Health (with your consent where possible or when required by law). This sharing of information is to assist with continuity of care and to provide effective follow up care if required.
How is your information protected?
Information about you is stored on the paper medical record, as a scanned digitized record and on GV Health computer system s. There are policies and procedures regarding passwords and access to your personal information on our computer systems. Regular audits are run to ensure only authorized staff have accessed information held in our systems.
All staff employed by GV Health have signed a confidentiality agreement and are bound by a strict code of conduct which requires them to maintain the confidentiality of your information.
GV Health adheres to all legislation regarding protection of your information. This includes the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic), the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), the Information Privacy Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information Act. The principles detailed in this legislation ensure we protect personal information. Information can only be collected, used, stored, disclosed and disposed of according to these principles.
Who can access your information?
In order to ensure we all work together for your benefit while you are a patient here, your health information will be shared among those health professionals in your treating team. Information may be shared with any service that is a part of GV Health. This is necessary to ensure continuity of care and to avoid duplication of tests and clinical assessments.
When you attend GV Health you are asked to name your local doctor. As part of your ongoing care we routinely fax, post or electronically transfer a letter (or discharge summary) to your local doctor when you go home after a stay in hospital. This letter details your stay in hospital, your medication and any special instructions we need your doctor to know. This information may also be sent to another hospital if you are being transferred for ongoing care.
GV Health also routinely sends a typed letter to your local doctor following an outpatient visit (Specialist Consulting Suites) – although this is not the case for every visit.
If you are seen at a hospital outside GV Health or you see a new local doctor or specialist they may call us to obtain information about you so they can treat you safely and effectively. In an emergency situation we would release information about you to help with your care. In all other circumstances your written consent will be required before we release information.
If you do not wish information to be sent please advise your treating doctor/health care provider at GV Health as soon as possible.
Sometimes it may be necessary to phone you at home or leave a message for you to contact the hospital. If you do not want messages left please make sure you inform staff when you give them your contact details.
Other people who receive information about you
GV Health is obligated by law to release personal information about you in specific circumstances.
- When subpoenaed to present your clinical record in court
- Reporting notifiable diseases to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria
- Reporting demographic and coded information about you to DHHS to ensure funding and planning activities. This information is de-identified so that you personally cannot be identified
- Provisions made in Section 120A of the Mental Health Act
The Department of Health and Humans Services had policies and procedures relating to access and use of information
We may contact you after you have gone home
The GV Health Foundation helps support GV Health through fundraising and may send you information on the work they do. They may also ask you for support.
Can you access your information?
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) allows you to request access to your medical record and personal information held by GV Health. If you wish to make an application for this information you will need to complete a freedom of information request form and an application fee and costs may apply.
If there is information in your record which is incorrect or you do not agree with, you have the right to request that it be corrected.
Requests for access to your medical record can be made in writing to:
Telephone: 5832 2709
Need more information?
If you have any questions about what happens to your information you can contact the Freedom of Information Officer (details above) or the Consumer Liaison Officer – Telephone 5832 2258
Can you complain?
If you have a complaint about how we manage your information please let us know. You can speak with a health professional, a staff member or you can contact our Consumer Liaison Officer.
If you believe that your concerns have not been addressed, you may contact:
The Health Services Commissioner
Freecall: 1800 136 066
Health Privacy Principles
GV Health complies with the 11 Privacy Principles (HPPs) relating to health information under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
- Use and Disclosure
- Data Quality
- Data Security and Data retention
- Access and Correction
- Transborder Data flows
- Transfer or closure of the practice of a health service provider
- Making information available to another health service provider