Safe in Our Practice
Each day patients tell doctors, nurses and staff confidential information which they wish to keep between themselves and Theodore Medical. All patients have the right to confidentiality and need to feel secure in the knowledge that this is ensured. The medical, nursing and administration staff of Theodore Medical is committed to providing a safe and secure environment so you know you can discuss any matter relating to your health. Information may be shared with other medical and nursing staff, but only necessary for your care. Your permission must be given before it can be divulged to anyone else, even members of your own family. Theodore Medical has a strict code of confidentiality in keeping with accreditation standards and the National Privacy Principles. The staff of Theodore Medical are privileged to be part of your health management and take this opportunity to explain the steps taken to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Doctors and nurses do not share confidential information with reception and administration staff. However, documents have to be scanned into your electronic record, letters typed and your record accessed for administrative purposes – all these tasks are carried out by staff. However, they are not allowed to access your record for any other purpose. Staff are briefed in confidentiality and each team member is a highly trustworthy professional. No member of the team is permitted to discuss any information about patients outside of the working environment - a breach of this confidentiality warrants serious ramifications including possible instant dismissal.
Theodore Medical is a “paper-lite” practice which means all records are kept electronically on computer. Documentation from outside sources are scanned into the relevant electronic record. Computerised records are more efficient and secure than the old paper version, though we still keep the old paper records off site, in secure storage although many paper charts were totally destroyed in the Christmas 2010 2011 floods. Only the doctors, nurses and clinical staff employed by the practice have access to your electronic record. Each member of staff has a unique password and each access to a patient record is recorded. Under accreditation standards and National Privacy Principles data protection protocols are in place.
Only required information is sent electronically to Medicare for example for billing and claims. No outside body is able to access your record from outside the building – in addition the system is protected by a very secure and sophisticated firewall to prevent hacking.
Other Professionals Caring for You
On occasions, it is desirable to share information with other professionals for example health visitors such as the diabetic educator, dietician and psychologist and of course specialists. This is only done following or during referral to these health professionals
Reports – Insurance/Employment
Medical requests for insurance reports from outside bodies must be accompanied by the patient’s written authorisation. Without your consent the report is not processed. Please note that your consent to these reports requires the doctor to reveal all relevant information.
Pre employment medicals are sometimes initiated by employers which entails a detailed medical examination using a prescribed form which the doctor must adhere to. All findings are sent to the employer who then determines suitability for employment. This medical examination is paid for by the prospective employer.
In the case of Mine Medicals only the recommendation is sent to the mine while the full Medical is sent to the Mines area of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.Mine Medical examinations may be requested by an individual at the own expense in preparation for employment. Again a prescribed set of medical tests and questions is adhered to and provisional certificate issued
Members of Your Family
On occasion, a member of a patient’s family, carer or friend, may be concerned about your health. Neither the doctor nor staff are permitted to divulge any information relating to you to a third party. The same principal applies to a third party trying to obtain test results on behalf of a patient. Theodore Medical does not give out test results to anyone other than the patient – unless prior notice is given by the patient. Sometimes a patient may wish for a friend or relative to attend a consultation. This is not a problem and can be reassuring and helpful for the patient.
Concerned About a Relative?
In a case where a relative is concerned about a patient who refuses to see a doctor, please address your concerns to the relevant doctor in writing or make an appointment The doctor will not be able to discuss the patient’s health with you but he/she may be able to act on the information you have provided.
Young people who are under 16, if they are deemed to be able to make competent decisions about their own health, have equal right to confidentiality. Test results and information pertaining to the young patient will only be divulged to a third party with patient’s consent.
Releasing Information Without Your Agreement
There are a very few occasion when doctors obliged by law to release information with your consent. These situations include if you are profoundly mentally ill, have a serious infection which can be passed on to the general public, are at risk of death or very serious harm, if you are place others at risk of death or very serious harm or in cases of child abuse. Your doctor will have to make a judgement, based on individual circumstances, before making this kind of decision.
Too Many Questions?
Sometimes reception staff need to ask you some questions about your health needs and their severity in order to make an appropriate appointment time that best utilises doctor and nursing availability. As well, identifying questions may be asked to ascertain your identity both when booking and attending an appointment to ensure the right patient is booked in. Because for the particular health needs of aboriginal people you will also be asked whether you identify as an aboriginal person when you are first entered into our database.
Theodore Medical prides itself on secure systems and patient confidentiality. If you have any concerns regarding your medical record or any aspect of patient confidentiality, please contact the Practice Manager Anne Chater or speak to one of our doctors.