Australian Clinical Labs Limited (ABN 94 645 711 128) (ACL, we, us, our) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and by health records privacy legislation in the States and Territories in which it operates.
ACL is committed to the right to privacy and the protection of personal and health information in accordance with privacy laws.
DEALING WITH US ANONYMOUSLY
Where it is lawful and practicable to do so, individuals may deal with us anonymously (e.g. when inquiring about our services generally).
WHY DO WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION?
If an individual is to receive or has received a service from ACL, we will collect and hold their personal information:
- to gain an understanding of the individual’s needs so we may provide them with the required service and advice;
- to contact the individual to provide advice or information in relation to the way in which the service will be provided or to provide test results;
- to improve the quality of our service;
- to administer and manage those services including charging, billing and collecting debts; or
- where required by law.
WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT AND HOLD?
The information collected may include an individual’s:
- date of birth;
- address (postal and email);
- telephone numbers;
- Medicare number, Veterans’ Affairs number, Health Care Card number, or pension number;
- private health fund and health insurance cover details;
- medical history and other health information relevant to your medical care, including but not limited to your previous and current medical history and your family medical history (where clinically relevant);
- your ethnic background;
- your profession, occupation or job title;
- the name of any health service provider or medical specialist to whom you are referred, copies of any letters of referrals and copies of any reports back;
- pathology tests requested;
- pathology test results;
- pathology clinical notes;
- disease status and referring practitioner’s clinical notes;
- payment details;
- current medication;
- any additional information relating to you that you provide to us through our representatives, medical or allied health professionals providing services at or from our clinics or website, or otherwise;
- genetic information collected and used for the purposes of genetic testing;
- other information necessary for our functions and activities; and
- persons to contact in case of emergency.
HOW DO WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We will, if reasonable and practicable to do so, collect personal and health information directly from the individual concerned. This may take place when the individual fills out documents such as an admission form or an administrative form or when the individual gives us personal and health information in person or over the telephone.
We may collect personal and health information from third parties such as:
- an individual’s representatives (e.g. authorised representative or legal adviser);
- an individual’s health service provider;
- a referring practitioner or other health professional who has treated the individual;
- the individual’s family; or
- any other sources, such as Government Agencies, where necessary to provide a health service.
DISCLOSING PERSONAL INFORMATION
Whilst disclosure of your personal information is limited, we may disclose your personal information in certain circumstances, including though not limited to:
- continuity of care with other health service providers involved in the individual’s treatment or diagnostic services;
- providing an individual with further information about treatment options;
- conveying information to an individual’s representative (e.g. parent, guardian, spouse) when the individual is incapacitated or cannot communicate, unless the individual has requested otherwise;
- conveying information to close family members in accordance with the recognised customs of medical practice;
- management, funding, service-monitoring, planning, evaluation and complaint-handling;
- legislative and regulatory compliance;
- quality assurance or clinical audit activities;
- accreditation activities;
- health insurance funding;
- billing and debt recovery;
- addressing liability indemnity arrangements including reporting to the Pathology’s insurers and legal representatives;
- preparing the defence for anticipated or existing legal proceedings;
- research or the compilation or analysis of statistics relevant to public health and safety;
- activities directly related to the provision of health services to an individual where the individual would reasonably expect disclosure.
TRANSBORDER DATA FLOWS
We operate and communicate with organisations throughout Australia and overseas. Therefore, some disclosures may occur outside the state or territory in which an individual is resident, and in some circumstances, outside Australia.
USING GOVERNMENT IDENTIFIERS
In certain circumstances we are required to collect government identifiers such as Medicare, pension or Veteran’s Affairs numbers. We will only use or disclose this information in accordance with the law.
STORING PERSONAL INFORMATION
We store personal and health information in different ways, including in paper and electronic form. The security of personal and health information is important to us and we take reasonable steps to protect it from misuse or loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Some of the ways we do this include:
- requiring our staff to maintain confidentiality;
- implementing document storage security;
- imposing security measures for access to our computer systems;
- providing a discreet environment for confidential discussions;
- only allowing access to personal and health information where the individual seeking access to their own information has satisfied our identification requirements.
Personal and health information will be retained for the minimum period of time and, where required, disposed of in a secure manner, determined by the relevant State or Territory privacy laws.
KEEPING PERSONAL INFORMATION ACCURATE AND UP TO DATE
We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up to date.
However, the accuracy of that information depends largely on the quality of the information provided to us. We therefore suggest that individuals:
- let us know if there are any errors in their personal or health information; and
- keep us up to date with changes to their personal information (e.g. their name and address). Individuals may do this by mail or email (see “Contacting us”).
ACCESSING PERSONAL INFORMATION
Individuals can contact us to request access to their personal information (see “Contacting us”). We may charge a reasonable fee for collating and providing access to personal and health information. It is recommended that patients obtain the information from the referring doctor.
ACL is committed to protecting online privacy. In general, visits to ACL websites can be made without revealing any personal information.
ACL websites contain links to websites operated by third parties. ACL has no control over the privacy policies and practices of such third - party sites. When following links to other sites from an ACL website we recommend that you read the privacy statement of that site to familiarise yourself with its privacy practices.
Email addresses provided will only be used to provide the requested service or response to specific user queries and will not be added to any mailing lists, nor disclosed to any other party without users’ knowledge and consent, unless required by law.
ACL may provide third parties with aggregate statistics about our visitors, traffic patterns and related site information. This data reflects site usage and does not contain identifying information.
PATIENT HEALTH INFORMATION SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY
Office of The Privacy Commissioner
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
Individuals may ask any questions about privacy and the way we manage personal and health information, complain about the handling of their information or obtain a form requesting access to personal and health information by contacting the Quality Manager of the laboratory either by phone or in writing.
If you would like more information about privacy in general, please refer to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website: www.oaic.gov.au