P2 – PRIVACY AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT POLICY

POLICY

Lighthouse Health Group (LHG) will comply with:

  • The Privacy Act 1988 and the Privacy Amendment Act 2012 to protect the privacy of individuals’ personal information; and
  • NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2020.

 

This includes having in place systems governing the appropriate collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information, access to and correction and disposal of that information.

OUTCOM


Compliance with legislative requirements governing privacy of personal information.

All Lighthouse Health Group clients are satisfied that their personal information is kept private and only used for the intended purpose.

BACKGROUND

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) is an Australian law which regulates the handling of personal information about individuals by private sector organisations.  Amendments were made to this legislation in 2012 (the Privacy Amendment Act 2012 which updates the Australian Privacy Principles – APP) and came into effect in March 2014.  The amendment requires an organisation to explicitly state how they will adhere to the APP and inform their clients on how their privacy will be protected.  The APP covers the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information, access to and correction of that information.  The APP are summarised in Appendix 1 of this document.

The NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 governs how long personal health information must be kept.

DEFINITIONS

‘Personal information’ means information (or an opinion) we hold (whether written or not) from which a person’s identity is either clear or can be reasonably determined.
‘Sensitive information’ is a particular type of personal information – such as health, race, sexual orientation or religious information.

PROCEDURE

Ensuring all Lighthouse Health Group Staff Understand Privacy and Confidentiality Requirements

  • The Director of Lighthouse Health Group will review their Privacy Policy annually and ensure that the team understand their responsibility to protect the privacy of individuals’ personal information; and
  • All Staff will undergo training related to Privacy and Confidentiality Requirements at the time of induction and each then annually.

Managing Privacy of Client Information Storage

  • Client information collected is kept in an individual client record;
  • Each client record has a unique identification number;
  • A client records includes but is not limited to: personal information • clinical notes • investigations • correspondence from other healthcare providers • photographs • video footage • Assessment notes or tools;
  • A firewall is used in the LHG computer system as a means of protecting information stored on the computer. Other security related procedures such as user access passwords also assist with the protection of information;
  • Paper records are kept in locked, fireproof cabinets;
  • Client information is stored for seven (7) years post the date of last discharge. In the case of clients aged under 18 years, information is kept until their 25th birthday and seven (7) years post discharge;
  • Client related information or any papers identifying a client are destroyed by shredding and deleting from the computer and all databases; and
  • User access to all computers and mobile devices holding client information is managed by passwords and automatic inactive logouts.

Managing Privacy and Confidentiality Requirements of Clients

  • Lighthouse Health Group refers to their Privacy Policy on the participant’s NDIS Service Agreement;
  • The NDIS Service Agreement includes five (5) Consents:
  • Consent for sharing Information;
  • Consent for receiving Services;
  • Consent for photography;
  • Consent to participate in Client Satisfaction Surveys; and
  • Consent to participate in Quality Management Activities.

These consents are discussed with the participant and/or their decision maker in a way they can understand prior to the commencement of service.

  • Persons contacting LHG with an enquiry do not need to provide personal details. However, once a decision is made to progress to utilising LHG’s services, personal and sensitive information will need to be collected;
  • LHG may need to share pertinent client information with other professional therapists at the time of case conferencing or when determining care plans. Information is only shared in order to provide the best service possible and is only shared with those people whose Professional Codes of Ethics include privacy and confidentiality.  Permission to share information is sought from the client prior to the delivery of services and as required at other points of intervention as / if required;
  • Personal information is not disclosed to third parties outside of LHG, other than for a purpose made known to the client and to which they have consented, or unless required by law; and
  • Clients are informed there may be circumstances when the law requires LHG to share information without their consent.

Keeping Accurate Client Information

  • Clients are informed of the need to provide us with up to date, accurate and complete information.
  • LHG staff update information on the client record at the time of reviews or when they become aware of change in information.
  • Therapy and support coordination staff at LHG update the client record as soon as practical after the delivery of services to ensure information is accurate and correct.

Using Client Information for Other Purposes

  • Under no circumstances will LHG use personal details for purposes other than stated above, unless specific written consent is given by the client or their representative.

Client Access to Their Information

  • Clients have the right to access the personal information LHG holds about them. To do this, clients must contact the Director of Lighthouse Health Group and make a request.

Management of a Privacy Complaint

  • If a person has a complaint regarding the way in which their personal information is being handled by Lighthouse Health Group, in the first instance they are to contact the Director. The complaint will be dealt with as per the Incidents and Complaints Policy.  If the parties are unable to reach a satisfactory solution through negotiation, the person may request an independent person (such as the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner) investigate the complaint.  LHG with provide every cooperation with this process.

References

 

Reviewed 16 March 2020

By JB LK JP

 

Appendix 1: Summary of the 13 Australian Privacy Principles

APP 1 — Open and transparent management of personal information

Ensures that APP entities manage personal information in an open and transparent way.  This includes having a clearly expressed and up to date APP privacy policy.

APP 2 — Anonymity and pseudonymity

Requires APP entities to give individuals the option of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym.  Limited exceptions apply.

APP 3 — Collection of solicited personal information

Outlines when an APP entity can collect personal information that is solicited.  It applies higher standards to the collection of ‘sensitive’ information.

APP 4 — Dealing with unsolicited personal information

Outlines how APP entities must deal with unsolicited personal information.

APP 5 — Notification of the collection of personal information

Outlines when and in what circumstances an APP entity that collects personal information must notify an individual of certain matters.

APP 6 — Use or disclosure of personal information

Outlines the circumstances in which an APP entity may use or disclose personal information that it holds.

APP 7 — Direct marketing

An organisation may only use or disclose personal information for direct marketing purposes if certain conditions are met.

APP 8 — Cross-border disclosure of personal information

Outlines the steps an APP entity must take to protect personal information before it is disclosed overseas.

APP 9 — Adoption, use or disclosure of government related identifiers

Outlines the limited circumstances when an organisation may adopt a government related identifier of an individual as its own identifier or use or disclose a government related identifier of an individual.

APP 10 — Quality of personal information

An APP entity must take reasonable steps to ensure the personal information it collects is accurate, up to date and complete.  An entity must also take reasonable steps to ensure the personal information it uses or discloses is accurate, up to date, complete and relevant, having regard to the purpose of the use or disclosure.

APP 11 — Security of personal information

An APP entity must take reasonable steps to protect personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.  An entity has obligations to destroy or de-identify personal information in certain circumstances.

APP 12 — Access to personal information

Outlines an APP entity’s obligations when an individual requests to be given access to personal information held about them by the entity.  This includes a requirement to provide access unless a specific exception applies.

APP 13 — Correction of personal information

Outlines an APP entity’s obligations in relation to correcting the personal information it holds about individuals.