We are committed to ensuring that your personal information is kept private and confidential.
1. What information do we collect?
We will only collect information that is necessary to provide our services and carry on our dental practice.
We collect the following types of personal information from patients and prospective patients:
- name and contact details;
- age, date of birth and gender;
- dental history and previous dentists;
- medical history;
- details about your current health and medications; and
- health insurance details.
We collect personal information from you if you ask us to claim directly to your health fund when you are paying your account (through HICAPS). This includes your credit card details if you pay by credit card.
2. How do we collect your personal information?
We collect personal information in several ways. You may be asked by us to complete a patient questionnaire and give us information we need to provide dental services to you in a safe and appropriate manner. This information includes your details of your dental and medical history and your current health. You may also be asked to provide personal information verbally to our dentists or other staff members.
We may also collect personal information about you from third parties if you have agreed that they can provide us with this information. For example, we may collect information from:
- your health insurance provider;
- Medicare; and
- other dentists, dental specialists or other health practitioners (including your General Practitioner).
If a person is unable to provide us with personal information which we need to provide them with dental services (for example if the patient is a young child or lacks the capacity to provide these details) we will require this information to be provided by the patient’s legal guardian or another person who is legally entitled to act for that person.
3. How do we use your personal information?
We may use your personal information for any of the following purposes:
- to assess whether we can safely provide you with our dental services;
- to maintain and administer your patient file;
- to invoice you for our fees;
- to process your health insurance claims;
- to contact you for follow up services and check-up reminders;
- to collect unpaid invoices; and
- to send information to you about our dental practice.
4. How do we make sure that your information is accurate?
We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect from you is accurate, up-to-date and complete. These steps include:
- maintaining and updating your personal information when you attend the practice; and
- amending information when you let us know that any of your information has changed.
5. How do we protect and store your information?
We provide ongoing training to our staff to ensure the personal information which we hold about you is kept confidential.
We keep hard copy and electronic records of all patients’ personal information. We take steps to protect these records against loss, misuse, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure. We ensure that hard copies of records are kept in locked files and there are security processes in place regarding computer access. We take steps to ensure that electronic data is backed up.
We, or our contracted data storage providers, may use servers, systems and cloud computing providers outside Australia. We use our best endeavours to ensure that our storage providers are required to comply with Australian Privacy laws.
After a period of 7 years (or in the case of a person under 18, until the person turns 25) we may securely destroy or de-identify your records in accordance with Australian laws.
6. When will we disclose your personal information?
We will disclose your personal information to third parties if you have agreed that we can do so. For example, we will disclose your personal information:
- if you ask us in writing or provide us with your written consent to disclose your information to a third party;
- in an emergency situation, if you have nominated relatives or next of kin as emergency contacts;
- to other dentists, dental specialists and healthcare providers, for the purpose of seeking a second opinion or a referral; and
- to laboratories and dental specialists (within Australia or overseas) to provide advisory services relating to your treatment.
We may also disclose specific personal information (your name, address, contact details and amount owing to us) to debt collection providers engaged by us if you do not pay our invoices within the required time.
Other than as set out in this Section 5, we will only disclose your personal information without your agreement if we are legally required to do so. Under the Privacy Act, we must disclose your personal information if we are directed to do so by a government or regulatory body (including Medicare) or a statutory body (eg a court or a tribunal) with legal powers to obtain your information.
7. Accessing your personal information
You have the right to access the personal information that we hold about you. You can contact us in writing, by email or by telephone and request access to your personal information. Our contact details are set out in Section 8 of this Policy. We will always try to meet your request within a reasonable time.
In some circumstances, your request for access may be denied. These circumstances include:
- if we no longer hold any personal information about you;
- if your request is frivolous or vexatious;
- if the information requested relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings and would not normally be disclosed as part of those proceedings;
- if providing access would be unlawful; and
- if denying access is required or allowed by law.
If we are unable to give you access to the information you have requested, we will give you written reasons for this decision when we respond to your request.
We may charge you a reasonable fee for access to some types of information requested by you. This charge will be limited to the cost of recouping our costs for providing you with the information. Charges may include document retrieval, photocopy, the costs of duplication of X-rays and models, and delivery costs to you.
8. Correcting your personal information
To enable us to provide you with the best service, it is important that the information we hold about you is accurate and up-to-date. You will need to provide us with any changes to your personal information (including change of address, name, telephone number and health providers) to enable us to update your records. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that the information that we hold about you is accurate and up-to-date.
9. Our contact information and resolving your concerns