Keeping and Protecting Information:
1. Purpose and context
Little Sparks Occupational Therapy is committed to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of all personal information affiliated with Little Sparks OT business undertakings.
Little Sparks OT follows the terms and conditions of privacy and confidentiality in accordance to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) as per schedule 1 of the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth), forming part of the Privacy Act 1988 (‘the Act’).
The point of contact regarding any queries regarding this policy is Gabrielle Walls, Director, Little Sparks OT phone: 0472 633 873 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Australian Privacy Principles
As a private sector health service provider and under permitted health situations, Little Sparks OT is required to comply with the APPs as prescribed under the Act.
The APPs regulate how Little Sparks OT may collect, use, disclose and store personal information and how individuals, including Little Sparks OT’s clients may:
- address breaches of the APPs by Little Sparks OT;
- access their own personal information; and,
- correct their own personal information.
In order to provide clients with adequate health care services, Little Sparks OT will need to collect and use personal information. It is important to be aware that if the client provides incomplete or inaccurate information or the client withholds personal health information Little Sparks OT may not be able to provide the client with the services they are requesting.
“personal information” as defined by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Meaning “information or an opinion including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material format or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion”; and,
“health information” as defined by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). This is a particular subset of “personal information” and means:
- Information or opinion about the health or disability (at any time i.e. past, present or future) of an individual that can be classified as personal information;
- Information or opinion about an individual’s expressed wishes about the future provision of health services that can be classified as personal information;
- Information or opinion about health service provided, or to be provided, to an individual, that can be classified as personal information;
- Other personal information collected to provide, or in providing, a health service;
- Other personal information about an individual collected in connection with the donation, or intended donation, by the individual of his or her body parts, organs or body substances; or
- Genetic information about an individual in a form that is, or could be, predictive of the health of the individual or a genetic relative of the individual.
Personal information also includes ‘sensitive information’ which is information including, but not limited to a client’s:
- political opinions;
- sexual preferences; and/or,
- health information.
Information deemed ‘sensitive information’ attracts a higher privacy standard under the Act and is subject to additional mechanisms for the client’s protection.
3. Types of Personal Information
Little Sparks OT collects information from each individual client that is necessary to provide the client with adequate occupational therapy services.
This may include collecting information about a client’s health history, family history, ethnic background or current lifestyle to assist the occupational therapy team in diagnosing and treating a client’s condition.
4. Collection & Retention
This information will in most circumstances be collected directly from the client through but not limited to the following mediums:
- Little Sparks OT client consent form;
- Little Sparks OT Parent / Caregiver questionnaire form;
- medical treatment form; referrals and or,
- face to face consultation.
In other instances, Little Sparks OT may need to collect personal information about a client from a third-party source. This may include:
- relatives; or,
- other health service providers.
This will only be conducted if the client has provided consent for Little Sparks OT to collect his/her information from a third-party source; or, where it is not reasonable or practical for Little Sparks OT to collect this information directly from the client. This may include where the client’s health is potentially at risk and his/her personal information is needed to provide them with emergency medical treatment.
Little Sparks OT endeavours to store and retain a client’s personal & health information in an electronic record system stored on our practice management software. This information is saved to the cloud, in Australia.
5. Purpose of Collection, Use, and Disclosure
Little Sparks OT only uses a client’s personal information for the purpose(s) they have provided the information for unless one of the following applies:
- the client has consented Little Sparks OT to use his/her information for an alternative or additional purpose;
- the disclosure of the client’s information by Little Sparks OT is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of criminal law or a law imposing a penalty or sanction, or for the protection of public revenue;
- the disclosure of the client’s information by Little Sparks OT will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody’s life or health; or,
- Little Sparks OT is required or authorised by law to disclose the client’s information for another purpose.
Health Professionals to provide treatment
During the client’s treatment at Little Sparks OT he/she may be referred to alternative medical treatment/services (i.e. pathology or radiology) where Little Sparks OT’s staff may consult with senior medical experts when determining a client’s diagnosis or treatment.
Little Sparks OT staff may also refer the client to other health service providers for further treatment during and following the client’s admission. These services include, but are not limited to:
- Speech therapy;
- Paediatricians; or,
- Outpatient or community health services.
These health professionals will be designated health service providers appointed to use the client’s health information as part of the process of providing treatment. Please note that this process will be conducted whilst maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of the client’s personal information.
Alternative Health Services
At any point a client wishes to be treated by an alternative medical practitioner or health care service that requires access to his/her personal/health information Little Sparks OT requires written authorisation. This written authorisation is to state that the client will be utilising alternative health services and that these health services have consented for a transfer of personal/health information.
Other Third Parties
Little Sparks OT may provide the client’s personal information regarding a client’s treatment or condition to additional third parties. These third parties may include:
- other relatives;
- close personal friends;
- guardians; or,
- a person exercising a client’s power of attorney under an enduring power of attorney.
Where information is relevant or reasonable to be provided to third parties, written consent from the client is required.
Additionally, the client may at any time wish to disclose that no third parties as stated are to access or be informed about his/her personal information or circumstances.
Other Uses of Personal Information
In order to provide the best possible environment to treat clients, Little Sparks OT may also use personal/health information where necessary for:
- activities such as quality assurance processes, accreditation, audits, risk and claims management, client satisfaction surveys and staff education and training;
- invoicing, billing and account management;
- to liaise with a client’s health fund or Medicare, as necessary; and,
- the purpose of complying with any applicable laws – i.e. in response to a subpoena or compulsory reporting to State or Federal authorities.
If at any point or for any of the aforementioned reasons Little Sparks OT uses or discloses personal/ health information in accordance with the APPs, Little Sparks OT will provide written notice for the client’s consent for the use and/or disclosure.
6. Access and Changes to Personal Information
If an individual client reasonably requests access to their personal information for the purposes of changing the information he/she must engage with the relevant practice manager.
The point of contact for client access to personal information is:
Director / Senior Occupational Therapist
0472 633 873
Once an individual client requests access to his/her personal information Little Sparks OT will respond within a reasonable period of time to provide the information.
All personal information will be updated in accordance to any changes to a client’s personal circumstances brought to Little Sparks OT’s attention. All changes to personal information will be subject to client’s consent and acknowledgement.
If an individual requests access to his/her personal information Little Sparks OT will charge $30. Please note that this fee is associated with administrative costs only.
7. Complaints Handling
Clients who would like to make a complaint about a perceived breach of the Australian Privacy Principles through Little Sparks OT, can do so by contacting the Director at Little Sparks OT (see 6.1 above).
Little Sparks OT is dedicated to ensuring your information is secure. In the event that a breach of your information is identified, affected clients will be notified by Little Sparks OT and informed of our processes for handling any breaches. If at any stage a client identifies a breach of their privacy, they are requested to speak to the practice manager about lodging their concerns formally.
8. Personal Information and Overseas Recipients
Use of Overseas Parties: Little Sparks OT does engage with overseas entities, with which personal or health information would be transferred, appointed, or disclosed. These overseas entities include:
Xero Accounting software – used to manage business financial information (e.g. client invoices, banking deposits etc.) controlled by Gabrielle Walls, Director, Little Sparks OT. This information is saved to the cloud in the United States.
The aforementioned entities engaged overseas are subject to the legislative requirements as stipulated by the APPs.
9. Disposal of Personal/Health Information
If Little Sparks OT receives any unsolicited personal information that is not deemed appropriate for the permitted health situation, Little Sparks OT will reasonably de-identify and dispose of the information accordingly.
If Little Sparks OT holds any personal or health information that is no longer deemed relevant or appropriate for the permitted health situation, Little Sparks OT will reasonably de-identify and dispose of the information accordingly.
10. Access to Policy
11. Review of Policy
Little Sparks OT in accordance with any legislative change will review the terms and conditions of this policy to ensure all content is both accurate and up to date.
Policy Version 3: Last updated 18.6.2021
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