Privacy Policy

Introduction

This privacy policy provides information to you, our patient, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within our practice, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties.

Why and when your consent is necessary

When you register as a patient of our practice, you provide consent for our dental practitioners and practice staff to access and use your personal information so they can provide you with the best possible dental care. Only staff who need to see your personal information will have access to it.  If we need to use your information for anything else, we will generally seek additional consent from you to do this, unless obtaining your consent is not practical or reasonable, and an exception under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) applies.

Why do we collect, use, hold and share your personal information?

Our practice will need to collect your personal information to provide dental services to you. Our main purpose for collecting, using, holding and sharing your personal information is to manage your dental health. We also use it for directly related business activities, such as financial claims and payments, practice audits and accreditation, and business processes (e.g. staff training).

What personal information do we collect?

The information we will collect about you includes your:

  • name/s, date of birth, address/es, contact details (e.g. telephone, email), family contact information
  • details of your oral health condition and the treatment/s and service/s you have received
  • details of your general health (e.g. medications, allergies, medical conditions) and medical history that may impact the dental treatment you receive
  • private health insurance information
  • Medicare number (where available) for identification and claiming purposes
  • information regarding other funding sources, where relevant (e.g. Child Dental Benefits Schedule, Department of Veterans’ Affairs)
  • information on workers’ compensation, motor vehicle and other accident claims, where relevant
  • healthcare identifiers, where relevant.

Our practice is not linked to the My Health Record (MHR) system.  Your information will not appear on your My Health Record.

Dealing with us anonymously

You have the right to deal with us anonymously or under a pseudonym unless it is impracticable for us to do so or unless we are required or authorised by law to only deal with identified individuals.

How do we collect your personal information?

Our practice may collect your personal information in several different ways.

  1. When you make your first appointment our practice staff will collect your personal information via your registration.
  2. During the course of providing dental services, we may collect further personal information.
  3. We may also collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media.
  4. In some circumstances personal information may also be collected from other sources. Often this is because it is not practical or reasonable to collect it from you directly. This may include information from:
  • your guardian or responsible person
  • other involved healthcare providers, such as specialists and diagnostic imaging services
  • your health fund, Medicare, or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (as necessary).

When, why and with whom do we share your personal information?

We sometimes share your personal information:

  • with third parties who work with our practice for business purposes, such as information technology providers – these third parties are required to comply with APPs
  • with other healthcare providers
  • when it is required or authorised by law (e.g. court subpoenas)
  • when it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a patient’s life, health or safety or public health or safety, or it is impractical to obtain the patient’s consent
  • to assist in locating a missing person
  • to establish, exercise or defend an equitable claim
  • for the purpose of confidential dispute resolution process
  • when there is a statutory requirement to share certain personal information (e.g. some diseases require mandatory notification)

Only people who need to access your information will be able to do so. Other than in the course of providing dental services or as otherwise described in this policy, our practice will not share personal information with any third party without your consent.

We will not share your personal information with anyone outside Australia (unless under exceptional circumstances that are permitted by law) without your consent.

Our practice will not use your personal information for marketing any of our goods or services directly to you without your express consent. If you do consent, you may opt out of direct marketing at any time by notifying our practice in writing.

How do we store and protect your personal information?

Your personal information records are stored electronically, including, but not limited to, all x-rays, patient notes and images.

Our practice stores all personal information securely. Information is stored in dedicated patient management software that is secure and backed up regularly, off-site within Australia. No information is stored overseas. All systems are password protected.

How can you access and correct your personal information at our practice?

You have the right to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.

Our practice acknowledges patients may request access to their dental records. We ask that you put this request in writing to: [email protected] and our practice will respond within 30 days.

Our practice will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information where the information is not accurate or up to date. From time to time, we will ask you to verify that your personal information held by our practice is correct and current. You may also request that we correct or update your information, and to assist us with attending to your request we would prefer you to make such requests in writing to: [email protected]

How can you lodge a privacy-related complaint, and how will the complaint be handled at our practice?

We take complaints and concerns regarding privacy seriously. You should express any privacy concerns you may have in writing. We will then attempt to resolve your issue/s in accordance with our resolution procedure. Any complaints or concerns regarding privacy should be marked for the attention of our Privacy Officer to: [email protected] or by post to 4 William Street, Bellingen NSW 2454. Please note that we will endeavor to reply to you as soon as possible and within a maximum of 30 days.

You may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).  The OAIC may decide not to investigate your complaint if you have not raised it with the practice first.  If you have lodged a complaint with us, and we have not responded within 30 days or you are dissatisfied with our response, you may then take your complaint to the OAIC. For further information visit www.oaic.gov.au or call the OAIC on 1300 363 992.

Privacy and our website

Our practice may collect your personal information when you visit our website, send us an email or SMS, telephone us, make an online appointment or communicate with us using social media. Website analytics, including the use of cookies, are used to monitor and enhance patient usability and access, the data from which is not shared or sold to third parties.

Policy review statement

This privacy policy is reviewed annually or in line with any new guidance issued in connection with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Updates to this policy will be published on our website upon revision.

Contact Details:

Bellingen Dental Privacy Officer

P: 02 6655 2166

E: [email protected]

A: 4 William Street, Bellingen NSW 2454