Macquarie University Hospital Privacy Policy

 

Macquarie University Hospital's commitment to privacy laws

Macquarie University Hospital is a teaching hospital of Macquarie University and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (MQ Health).  Macquarie University Hospital is a values-based organisation and is committed to complying with all applicable privacy laws including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) and other laws which protect the privacy of personal information (including health information) in New South Wales.  This documents sets out our policies for handling your personal information.  In this policy 'we' and 'us' refers to Macquarie University Hospital and 'you' refers to any individual about whom we collect personal information.

What information does Macquarie University Hospital collect about you?

Patients

When you become a patient of Macquarie University Hospital, an electronic record is made containing personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, contact details, emergency contacts, GP contact details, your medical history and test results, family medical history, investigations, medical images, treatment and advice you were given, and other information relevant to your care.  Depending on the financial arrangements for your care, we may also collect information about your eligibility for Medicare (including your Medicare number), your private health insurance coverage and eligibility for benefits or compensation from another source (such as from the Department of Veterans Affairs or, for foreign visitors, from insurers based overseas).

Macquarie University Hospital is a teaching hospital of Macquarie University.  In certain circumstances, the hospital may ask if you would be willing to allow photographs or audio-visual recordings to be taken of you in a clinical context for the purposes of research, teaching or training.  If you have consented to clinical photography or audio-visual recording, personal information we collect about you will include photographs and audio-visual recordings. Information we collect about you is generally considered 'sensitive information' (specifically, 'health information') within the meaning of privacy laws.  Every time you attend the hospital, new information is added to your record.  Please let admission staff know if your contact details or your local doctor's contact details have changed since your last admission.

Other individuals

Macquarie University Hospital may collect personal information about individuals who are not patients of the hospital.  This includes individuals making enquiries about services offered at Macquarie University Hospital or individuals who have made a donation to Macquarie University Hospital.  Information may also be collected about individuals who are not patients of Macquarie University Hospital when making a record about a patient (for example, collecting emergency contact details or collecting a family medical history).

GPs, referring doctors and other healthcare professionals

Macquarie University Hospital may collect personal information about individual health practitioners who interact with the hospital (such as referring doctors or other health professionals involved in the care of the hospital's patients).  This is typically information such as your name, contact details, professional details and information regarding interactions or transactions with the hospital.  This information is collected for the purpose of administration, management and operation of Macquarie University Hospital.

Dealing with Macquarie University Hospital anonymously

You have the option of not identifying yourself, or using a pseudonym, when dealing with Macquarie University Hospital (for example, when making an enquiry).  However, it may not always be practicable for Macquarie University Hospital to deal with you anonymously or pseudonymously on an ongoing basis (for example, as a patient of the hospital).   If we do not collect personal information about you, we may be unable to provide you with certain health services or admit you as a patient of the hospital.

Website visitors

The way in which we handle the personal information of visitors to our website is discussed here.

How does Macquarie University Hospital collect personal information about you?

Macquarie University Hospital will, where reasonable and practicable to do so, collect personal information directly from the person to whom it relates (for example, on a pre-admission or other administrative form, over the telephone or via our website).  In some instances, it may be necessary to collect information about you from another person such as your referring doctor (or their practice staff), your referring hospital, other health professionals involved in your care, your private health insurer, or your relatives, next-of-kin or carers.  

How does Macquarie University Hospital hold and protect your personal information?

At Macquarie University Hospital, personal information is primarily collected and held in electronic form.  Information may be collected and held in paper-based documents (such as pre-admission or administrative forms).  However, such information is typically converted to electronic form and the original paper-based documents securely destroyed.  Personal information relating to patients of Macquarie University Hospital is held in the hospital's password-protected computer systems and is available to health professionals who are involved in your care.  We maintain strict policies regarding who has the authority to access your personal information.  All our staff are bound by a formal code of conduct.  We educate and supervise staff to ensure information is handled in accordance with this privacy policy and privacy laws, and with respect and care.

Why does Macquarie University Hospital collect your personal information?

Macquarie University Hospital collects personal information about patients in order to provide safe and effective health care and related services.  For example, we collect information about your medical history to help us to identify which treatments are likely to be safe and effective for you; to help reduce the likelihood of repeating tests that you have had in the past; and reduce the need for you to give the same information on multiple occasions.  We also collect your personal information to administer and manage the health care services we provide.  Further information about the way Macquarie University Hospital uses and discloses your personal information is set out in the next section. Providing accurate and complete information is important for the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services we provide.  If you do not provide accurate and complete information, or you withhold information, it may affect the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services we provide.  In certain circumstances, if you do not provide us accurate and complete information, we may not be able to provide you with health care services.  If you have any concerns about personal information we have asked you to provide, please raise those concerns with us.

How does Macquarie University Hospital use and disclose your personal information?

Your doctor and other health service providers involved in your care

Your personal information will generally be available to other health professionals and health services providers who are involved in your care.  For example:

  • We send a letter to your referring doctor or local doctor when you go home after an admission.  The letter summarises your time at Macquarie University Hospital, your medication and any special instructions your doctor needs to know.  On occasion, we may also send a letter to your local doctor following a visit to a clinic.  Sometimes your local doctor will contact the hospital for additional information about your treatment.  In this situation, we will only release information to your local doctor (as specified on your pre-admission form).
  • If you are discharged to another hospital or health service (eg. a community or home nursing service), we will send a summary of information about your condition and treatment to enable the receiving hospital or health service to provide you with safe and effective care.
  • We may disclose your personal information to independent health service providers who are contracted to provide health care services at the hospital (for example, a diagnostic imaging provider or a pathology provider).  
  • Another hospital or doctor may contact us to obtain information about you, so that they can treat you safely and effectively.  Unless there is an emergency, we will release personal health information about you only with your written consent after confirmation of the identity of the person requesting your health information.

Macquarie University Clinic

Many doctors who treat patients at Macquarie University Hospital also maintain consultation rooms in the building known as Macquarie University Clinic (connected to the hospital via a footbridge).  If you consult a doctor in his or her consulting rooms at Macquarie University Clinic, you are consulting that doctor in a private capacity.  You should ask to see their privacy policy which will give you more information about how they handle your personal information. If your treating doctor, or other health professionals involved in your care, have consultation rooms at Macquarie University Clinic they may have access to health information held by Macquarie University Hospital in the circumstances set out in the previous section.  

Contractors, medical technology suppliers and other providers

Where we outsource any of our services or engage contractors to perform services for us or on our behalf, we require them to comply with the same privacy laws that apply to us.  For example:

  • we may disclose your personal information to an independent organisation that conducts patient satisfaction surveys on our behalf;
  • information technology professionals may have incidental access to personal information in the course of providing development, maintenance and support services for the hospital's information technology systems.

Macquarie University Hospital utilises highly-advanced medical technology in treating patients.  In order to utilise that medical technology safely and effectively, the suppliers of that technology may have incidental access to your personal information in the course of providing maintenance and support services.  In certain circumstances, this includes representatives of the medical technology providers being present when you are receiving health care – including in operating theatres – to provide technical assistance (for example, to calibrate the technology).  If you receive care or treatment that involves you being the recipient of a medical device or prosthesis, we may disclose your personal information to the manufacturer or supplier of that device or prosthesis to ensure that the device or prosthesis can be used safely and effectively (for example, to facilitate calibration or monitoring of the device or prosthesis for safety purposes).  In some circumstances, those organisations are required to collect your personal information by law, for example, for safety, monitoring and recall purposes as required by the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth).  Third parties to whom we disclose your personal information may contact you directly to let you know that they have collected your information and to give you information about their information handling and privacy practices.  

Relatives, carers and 'next of kin'

Your health information may be disclosed to individuals who are legally responsible for your health care decisions (eg. parents, guardians and attorneys) and individuals you have nominated as emergency contacts or 'next of kin', provided this is not contrary to your express wishes.  

Research

Macquarie University Hospital is a teaching hospital of Macquarie University.  Your treating doctor may ask you, or invite you, to participate in a research study relevant to your care.  You can choose whether you would like to be involved in the study.  The way in which your personal information is handled will depend on the nature of the study and more information about how your personal information will be handled in any study will be provided to you at that time. In certain circumstances, your personal information may be used or disclosed for research, or the compilation or analysis of statistics, relevant to public health or safety.  Use of information in this way is strictly limited under privacy laws and generally requires approval of an ethics committee.

Students

Students studying at Macquarie University's Australian School of Advanced Medicine or participating in clinical placements (including students from Macquarie University and foreign teaching institutions) may be present with your treating doctor, or other health professionals involved in your care, during clinical consultations at Macquarie University Hospital. Those students may have access to your personal information for research, teaching or training purposes.

Administration, management and operation of Macquarie University Hospital

We may use or disclose your personal information for other purposes required for the administration, management and operation of Macquarie University Hospital, including:

  • administering billing (including administration of Medicare benefits, private health insurance benefits and other third-party payment arrangements) and debt recovery
  • managing, monitoring, planning and evaluating our services
  • safety and quality assurance and improvement activities
  • accreditation activities
  • training of staff and health care workers
  • testing and maintenance of information technology systems
  • risk management and management of legal liabilities and claims (for example, liaising with the hospital's insurers and legal representatives and with Macquarie University, its insurers and legal representatives)
  • responding to complaints or inquiries regarding health services provided at the hospital
  • obtaining advice from consultants and professional advisers
  • responding to subpoenas or other legal orders and obligations (including mandatory reporting of incidents)

Is your personal information used for direct marketing and fundraising?

Macquarie University and Macquarie University Hospital each undertake fundraising activities to support the hospital.  For example, we may send you a newsletter or other communications about the work we do (or Macquarie University may do so).  We will only use or disclose your personal information for this purpose with your consent.  If you do give consent, you may withdraw that consent at any time by contacting the Marketing Department on +61 2 9812 3005.

Will your personal information be sent overseas?

Macquarie University Hospital does not typically or routinely disclose personal information to overseas recipients.  However, a number of exceptions are set out below. Personal information of patients who receive medical devices or prosthesis may be disclosed to the manufacturers or suppliers of those devices for product support and safety purposes.  Those manufacturers and suppliers are likely to be located in the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom or countries within the European Union.  Personal information of patients who participate in clinical trials at Macquarie University Hospital may be disclosed to insurers in connection with insurance claims.  Those insurers are likely to be located in the United Kingdom.

Macquarie University Hospital will take reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach Australian privacy laws or otherwise ensure that the disclosure complies with the Australian privacy laws.

Website privacy

Information we collect

When you use the Macquarie University Hospital website, our Internet Service Provider will record and log non-personally identifiable information such as your IP address, browser type, operating system, pages viewed while browsing the website, date and times of the visit. This information is used internally for the purpose of gauging visitor traffic and trends and updating the website. Our website uses cookies.  Cookies are small text files which are placed on your hard drive to store information about your browsing.  The Macquarie University Hospital website does not use cookies to store personal information.

Macquarie University Hospital does not attempt to identify you as an individual user when you are using the website and we will not collect personal information about you unless you specifically provide this to us.  However, if you make an enquiry or request that Macquarie University Hospital provides a service to you by completing and submitting an online form on the website or otherwise contact us via the website, you will be required to provide some personal information (for example, your name and contact information) so that we may respond to your enquiry or request for service.  If you do provide us with personal information, we will collect, use and disclose that information in accordance with our privacy policy.

Online payments

The Macquarie University Hospital website includes a facility which enables you to pay your account and process certain other transactions online.  The transactions are processed through the NAB Secure Payment website. No personal information or account details are collected or stored by Macquarie University Hospital during these transactions. For more detail information regarding NAB MUH is not responsible for the content or privacy practices employed by the NAB Secure Payment website.

Links to other websites

In addition to the NAB Secure Payment website, the Macquarie University Hospital website contains links to other websites (linked websites). MUH is not responsible for the content or privacy practices employed by any linked website.

How can you access or seek correction of your personal information?

Generally, if you would like further information or do not understand any aspect of your care, the best person to speak to may be your treating doctor or someone in your health care team.  However, you have a right to request access to personal information Macquarie University Hospital holds about you.  To request access to your personal information, please contact Health Information Services on +61 2 9812 3007 or privacyofficer@muh.org.au to obtain an application form.  This form also outlines the current fees and the types of identification we require in order to process your request.  Under privacy laws, in special circumstances, access to your personal information may be declined (for example, when giving access would put you or another person at risk of harm).


Application forms may be sent to:

Health Information Services
Macquarie University Hospital
Locked Bag 2231
North Ryde BC NSW 1670 Australia

Macquarie University Hospital endeavours to ensure that your information is accurate, up-to-date and complete.  You can help us achieve this by letting us know if you notice errors or discrepancies in information we hold about you and letting us know if your personal details change (for example, your name or contact details). If you consider any personal information we hold about you is not accurate, you may also request correction of that information.  Please note that it is generally not possible to make changes to clinical information recorded in your medical record.  In that circumstance, you may be entitled to request that we associate a statement with your records.

What should you do if you have a complaint about the handling of your personal information?

You may contact Macquarie University Hospital at any time if you have any questions or concerns about this privacy policy or how your personal information has been handled.  The contact details of the hospital are set out below. If you have contacted Macquarie University Hospital and your question or concern has not been able to be resolved to your satisfaction, you may make a complaint to the hospital.  The contact details for the hospital are set out below.  We will consider and respond to your complaint within a reasonable period.  If you are not satisfied with our response to a complaint, or you consider that Macquarie University Hospital may have breached privacy laws, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the NSW Information and Privacy Commission. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be contacted by telephone on 1300 363 992.  Full contact details for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be found online at www.oaic.gov.au.  The NSW Information and Privacy Commission on can be contacted on 1800 472 679 or online at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.

How are changes to this privacy policy made?

This privacy policy is reviewed and amended from time-to-time.  Revisions and updates to this privacy policy will be published on Macquarie University Hospital's website (www.muh.org.au).  Please see the website for the latest version of this privacy policy.

Contacting Macquarie University Hospital

Macquarie University Hospital is the trading name of MUH Operations No. 2 Pty Ltd ABN 46 141 203 125.  Macquarie University Hospital is a controlled entity of Macquarie University.

The contact details for Macquarie University Hospital are: 3 Technology Place, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia


Telephone +61 2 9812 3000                 Online: www.muh.org.au

This privacy policy was last updated in March 2014.