Your privacy

 

Why is my information being collected at hospital entry points?

There are now COVID-19 screening measures in place for everyone entering the Royal Women’s Hospital. Some basic information about who you are and where you plan to spend your time while in the hospital is collected through an online form. This is so we can undertake contact tracing if required. There is no active tracking of mobile phones or numbers. As with all personal data, only authorised personnel will have access and we will always comply with the Health Records Act 2001 (HRA) and other relevant legislation relating to confidentiality and privacy.

The Royal Women’s Hospital is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal health and other information.

  • In August 2020, the four major public health services across the Parkville Precinct –  the Royal Women’s Hospital (the Women’s), the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC) began sharing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System. The information collected during your visits is stored securely in the EMR.
  • There are strict privacy laws, policies and procedures that are in place to govern the collection, use, release and disposal of your health information.
  • Authorised staff access to these systems is audited regularly by each health service to monitor compliance.
  • The Women’s only collects personal health information necessary to help us provide you with the best possible treatment and care.
  • Your information will only be shared with family members and other health professionals (your GP, specialist and other community healthcare providers) with your permission. In an emergency situation however, we will release information to assist with your care.
  • You have the right to access your medical record and personal information held by the Women’s.
  • If you identify information that is incorrect or you do not agree with, you have the right to request that it be amended.

Protecting your privacy

The Parkville Precinct is committed to protecting privacy by keeping the information we collect about you secure from unauthorised access, use, disclosure or loss.

All paper and electronic systems across the Parkville Precinct are managed and maintained appropriately. There are strict privacy laws, policies and procedures that are in place to govern the collection, use, release and disposal of your health information. Staff access to these systems is audited regularly by each health service to monitor compliance.

What patient information is collected?

We collect information such as your name, address, contact details, information about your current and previous health conditions, medications and treatments. We also collect other information such as your Medicare number, the language you speak at home, contact details for your local doctor and any allergies that you may have.

Why is patient information is collected and how is it used?

The Women’s collects the health information needed to provide you with the best possible care and treatment. The Women's only collects personal health information necessary to perform our functions. Please let staff members know or contact us when your details, such as your address, telephone or local doctor, change.

We may also use your information for planning, evaluation, quality improvement, research that may include clinical research trials and teaching purposes. If this information is used in reports and publications we remove any data that may identify you.

What happens to information?

If you are an inpatient, we may provide general information about your condition to your next of kin or a near relative. Let us know if you have any concerns about this.

After an emergency or outpatient visit or discharge from hospital, we prepare a summary of your visit, your medication needs and any special instructions about your care. This information will be provided to your local doctor or other community healthcare providers that you believe need this information.

Other hospitals or new doctors that you visit may contact the Women’s to obtain information about you so that they can provide treatment for you. We would ask for your written consent before we release information to them. In an emergency situation however, we will release information to facilitate your care.

In some circumstances the Women’s is required by law to release information. Some details about people who have specific conditions (for example, some infectious diseases and types of cancer) must be reported to databases or registers maintained securely by the Department of Health or other health care bodies. Information may also be provided to a court or tribunal when subpoenaed.

Certain information relating to your hospital visit may be forwarded to other organisations, such as the Department of Health and Human Services. This information is summarised and does not identify you. It is used for funding, planning and improving health care quality.

We may also be required to contact Medicare, your Private Health Insurance Company, Travel Insurance Company or the Department of Immigration to verify your eligibility for care as a new patient.

If you are registered with the Australian Government’s My Health Record, the Women’s may upload your discharge summaries and some pathology and radiology reports to My Health Record. If you do not wish to have these clinical documents uploaded, please let us know at the start of your visit.

Can you refuse to share your information?

You have the right to decide not to share your information or to restrict access to your record, however, it may affect our ability to provide you with the best possible care. Talk to us if you wish to limit access to all or part of the information we hold in your EMR.

Access to your information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 sets out your right to access your medical record and personal information held by the Women’s. If you would like access to your Medical Record you can contact the Freedom of Information Officer. For more information, including application forms for Freedom of Information Requests and applicable fees, see Health Records Requests.

If you identify information that is incorrect or you do not agree with, you have the right to request that it be amended. This can be arranged through the Freedom of Information Officer.

The EMR also enables you to view some of your own health information through our shared patient portal called Health Hub. In most cases, you can view appointments, some test results, clinic notes and correspondence. Please note that not all departments provide these details. Information about Health Hub is available on our website.

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding the privacy of your health information, contact the Women’s Privacy Officer. For concerns and questions regarding your care or inappropriate use of your health information, please contact the Consumer Liaison Officer.



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