At Radiology SA the privacy of your personal and sensitive information is of great importance to us. We are committed to collecting only the information that is necessary for providing medical care, specifically in the area of diagnostic medical imaging. We are committed to resolving any problems with privacy issues as quickly as possible.
Collection of Personal Information
In order to provide a high quality medical imaging service, it is necessary for Radiology SA to collect and store personal information including sensitive information as defined in the Privacy Act.
Personal Information means information about an individual who is identified or could reasonably be identified.
Sensitive Information is a subset of Personal Information which, along with health information, includes racial or ethnic origin, criminal records, religious beliefs, political opinions and sexual preferences.
The type of information collected and stored by Radiology SA includes:
- Identifying information – name, gender, date of birth
- Contact information – address, phone numbers, referring doctor
- Health information – past medical history, medical imaging test results
- Billing information – Medicare, Health Care Card, Private Health Insurance, Workcover, Motor Accident Commission, Veteran’s Affairs details
Information is sourced from the patient, the referring doctor and the reporting radiologist or nuclear medicine physician and stored in the Radiology Information System (RIS). Medical images are stored on the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).
Should you prefer not to provide us with this information, it may not be possible for us to provide you with the medical care you request.
Use of Collected Personal Information
The collected information is used for a number of purposes:
- To assist in providing an accurate and comprehensive medical imaging report
- To allow contact with patients in case an appointment needs to be changed or to provide an appointment reminder by phone call or SMS
- To allow contact with entities such as insurance companies when required
- To facilitate the billing and debt collection process
Disclosure of Collected Personal Information
Radiology SA discloses personal information to other health professionals including:
- The patient’s referring doctor or allied health professional
- Other medical practitioners involved in the care of the patient
- For Hospital inpatients - Hospital medical officers, nursing staff and allied health professionals
- Pathology professionals analysing samples taken during a medical imaging procedure
Radiology SA’s medical imaging studies can be accessed via a secure password protected portal. Access is restricted to the medical officers directly involved in the care of any particular patient.
Information may also be disclosed under strict conditions of confidentiality to:
- Authorised representatives such as family members or guardians
- Contractors involved in the maintenance of the Practice’s medical imaging equipment, RIS and PACS
- Insurers such as Medicare and Workcover for billing purposes
- Medical Indemnity legal advisors
Any information provided for the purposes of research or continuing medical education is supplied without the patient’s identifying data.
Accessing Personal Information
·Medical imaging reports are generally accessed by the patient via their referring clinician. This allows the results to be explained in the context of any further testing that may be required and the ongoing treatment program.
·Patients may request access to their personal information. There may be charges related to the provision of imaging studies on film or CD and it will be necessary to provide proof of identity.
·If your request is denied, a reason will be given to you.
·Patients are encouraged to help Radiology SA ensure that stored personal information is accurate by notifying us of any changes to details such as name or address.
Patient Access to Reports
Patient access to medical records is in line with the AMA patient access to medical records policy (Guidelines for Doctors on Disclosing Medical Records to Third Parties 2010). In particular, note should be made of the following statement:
“Other than exceptional circumstances permitted or required by law, medical records should not, without the patient's express up-to-date written consent, be disclosed to persons other than the patient unless the patient would reasonably expect such disclosure to take place, in accordance with relevant privacy legislation. For example, it is likely a patient who has consented to the collection of their personal information for their health care may reasonably expect the doctor to share the patient’s medical record amongst the treating health care team.”
Thus in general, it is inappropriate to release patient results to persons other than the patient’s referring medical practitioner, except where the patient has provided express written consent. This requirement may be waived if there is a genuine medical emergency or a request from an appropriate legal authority. In the event the patient has changed medical practitioner, the report may be released to the new practitioner, provided there is reasonable assurance that he/she is the patient’s new practitioner. If there is any uncertainty about this, clerical staff should discuss the matter with the radiologist or General Manager.
Staff Access to Medical Records and Reports
Medical records are confidential to the patient and the referring doctor. Staff, including doctors, have access insofar as the records relate to the patient’s medical care and Practice management issues. Limited access for quality improvement, research, teaching and other Practice activities may be appropriate subject to compliance with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
Practice Confidentiality Statement:
The Practice policy regarding the confidentiality of client information and data is as follows:
- All data and information concerning patients is strictly confidential.
- Confidentiality must be maintained outside work and work hours.
- Staff may only discuss patient information with the patient’s physicians where this is relevant to the patient, their treatment and the maintenance of their medical records.
- Access to patient’s medical records will only be granted to the patient’s referring or treating physician and when required by subpoena, or with the patient’s written permission.
- If a staff member removes patient information or medical records from the Practice, the information must be transported securely.
- Any reports, publications or images arising from research or education using patient information will be without patients’ identifying data.
- Staff are to be counselled in the specific requirements of confidentiality for the Practice as part of the induction process.
- Radiology SA conducts training with all staff to ensure that privacy protocols are adhered to.
- Confidential waste includes any documentation that includes patient particulars, e.g. reports, (radiology or otherwise), letters, billing slips or registration paperwork.
- Confidential waste is to be shredded or placed in a secure confidential waste disposal bin.
Photography and Video Recording
To respect the privacy of patients, visitors and staff, it is Radiology SA’s policy that photography or video recording is not permitted within Radiology SA imaging departments.
Any complaints regarding the treatment of personal information should be directed to the General Manager, Radiology SA, PO Box 1072, North Adelaide, SA, 5006. All complaints are investigated and responded to in a timely manner. If a complainant is not satisfied with the response from Radiology SA, the matter may be referred to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).