HCF Eyecare* is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals whom we deal with, including our customers.
HCF Eyecare is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) when collecting and handling personal (including health) information. This policy sets out how HCF Eyecare handles the personal information we collect about individuals, including our customers.
Collection of personal information
What types of information do we collect?
Personal information is any information we collect and hold about an identified person or someone who is identifiable to us. It includes ‘sensitive information’ which includes information about a person’s health, their racial or ethnic origin, their political, religious or philosophical beliefs and affiliations, their membership in professional or trade associations or unions, their sexual orientation or practices, their criminal record, or their genetic or biometric information.
The types of personal information HCF Eyecare collects will depend on who you are and your interaction with us.
If you are a customer this includes: At the time of the appointment: name and contact details to make the appointment. At the time of the consultation: name, address, date of birth, email address, gender, spoken languages, eye disease history including family eye disease history, Medicare and HCF / other private health insurance member number.
If you are a job applicant this includes: name, contact information (residential, postal and email addresses, telephone and/or mobile number and other relevant contact details), qualifications and employment history, and personal information within your CV.
If you are an eye specialist or general practitioner, this includes name and contact information (postal and email addresses, telephone and/or mobile number and other relevant contact details).
If you are supplier, this includes name and contact information (postal and email addresses, telephone and/or mobile number and other relevant contact details).
Why do we collect your information?
HCF Eyecare collects and uses personal information to carry out our business of providing eye care and related health care services and eye wear and related products.
The particular purposes for which HCF Eyecare collects personal information depends on who you are and our interaction with you.
We collect customers’ personal information to:
- make appointments or to send reminders about follow ups or check ups;
- treat, coordinate and implement care plans for the treatment of eye care and/or related health care needs;
- provide eyewear products and eye care related services and products;
- process healthcare claims and third party billing procedures;
- claim Medicare benefits;
- keep customers updated about our products and services and any relevant changes to our practices, such as change of address.
We collect job applicants’ personal information to assess their application for employment with us. We collect eye specialists’ and general practitioners’ personal information to refer customers to them. We collect suppliers’ personal information to purchase goods and services and contact them.
How do we collect your information?
We usually collect most personal information from the individual directly. However at times we may collect customer information from a third party, such as Medicare or HCF.
We usually collect customer’s health and other sensitive information with their consent, unless the collection is required or authorised by law, or where the consent cannot be given and the information is needed to provide a health service or to reduce a threat to the life or health of another person.
Disclosures of personal information
HCF Eyecare may disclose personal information to third parties in the following circumstances:
- customer’s health information may be shared with other relevant health care practitioners for example, a referral to an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist or General Practitioner with the patients consent.
- if we are required or authorised by a law or court order or by regulatory authorities;
- to others third parties with the consent of the individual
to Medicare so that benefits can be claimed or to enable investigation of whether Medicare benefits have been paid appropriately.
Disclosure outside Australia
HCF Eyecare does not usually disclose the personal information we collect overseas unless it is in the course of providing eye care with the consent of the customer, for example, in relation to the purchase of a specialty optical appliance for a patient that is unavailable in Australia.
HCF Eyecare will take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect about patients/customers is accurate, complete and up-to-date.
HCF Eyecare will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the information we collect and hold is protected from misuse, interference and loss, and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Individual electronic records are kept for each customer and access to records is restricted to the optometrists involved in the care of the customer, and practice staff, who need access for purposes such as optical dispensing and billing. No unauthorised persons are permitted to access the records. HCF Eyecare’s staff are bound by confidentiality clauses in the terms of their employment.
HCF Eyecare will take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information we hold once that information is no longer required for any purpose permitted by the privacy laws or required to be retained under an Australian Law or court order.
Individuals have the option to be dealt with anonymously, provided that it is lawful and practicable. HCF Eyecare will try to accommodate this wherever possible. However, it may not be possible for HCF Eyecare to provide optimal services to our customers without access to their personal information.
Access to and correction of personal information
Individuals may request access to, and ask HCF Eyecare to make corrections to, the personal information that we hold about them. Such requests can be made by contacting us using the details in the ‘Contact Us’ section below.
In some circumstances, HCF Eyecare may refuse to provide access to the information held about a patient/customer. For example, access may be refused where releasing the information would pose a serious threat to the health of the patient or another person, would unreasonably impact on the privacy of another person, or would be illegal. The physical/electronic record and the intellectual property contained in the information released remain the property of HCF Eyecare at all times. If we refuse to provide access to the information, we will provide reasons for the refusal including the exceptions relied upon.
We will not charge for information access requests. However, we might have to charge for the reasonable cost of processing an access request, including photocopying, administration and postage. In some situations, a suitable time will be arranged for a viewing of a customer’s records, with an appropriate staff member such as an optometrist available to interpret the information, or explain any terms used. A reasonable fee may be charged for this service. A response to a question for access will be provided within a reasonable time.
If you believe that the information we hold about you is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, you can ask us to correct it. If we are satisfied that the information needs to be corrected, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that information is corrected and notify you of the correction. However there may be circumstances in which we may have to refuse a request for correction. In such a case you can request that we associate a statement with that personal information that you made a request for correction. We will not charge you for correcting your personal information.
Contact Us (access, correction, complaints and other queries)
If an individual wishes to gain access to and/or correct his or her personal information, has a complaint about a breach of his or her privacy or has any questions on how his or her personal information is collected, used or disclosed, they can send their request, complaint or question to the address below:
Operations Manager, HCF Eyecare
Level 1, 403 George Street Sydney 2000.
Phone 9290 0199. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HCF Eyecare will respond to requests, complaints or questions within a reasonable time. We may require complaints to be put in writing. If the individual is not satisfied with our resolution of their complaint or response to request for access to or correction of their personal information, they can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Information on how to make a complaint to the OAIC can be found at www.oaic.gov.au or 1300 363 992. If the complaint involves the handling of health information, it can also be made to the New South Wales Information and Privacy Commission (www.ipc.nsw.gov.au/).
*HCF Eyecare is owned and operated by Eyecare Holdings Pty Limited ACN 054 365 196