Introduction to privacy
So we can provide a high quality medical imaging service, Benson Radiology collects personal information from our patients. The information we collect provides valuable insight into your health status and allows our Radiologists to provide the best possible diagnosis on your imaging.
We are committed to the protection of your personal and health related information. This policy outlines our approach to privacy in that we only collect, use or disclose medical information as is necessary for health purposes (or with your consent) and will seek to resolve any privacy-related problems as quickly as possible. This policy is readily available for our patients, referring health professional and others involved in a patient’s care (eg medical provider/s), to view both online and within Benson Radiology’s branches.
We are bound by the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988. The Australian privacy principles and standards within the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 are applicable to all areas of Benson Radiology. If you choose not to provide your personal (including sensitive health) information, we may be unable to provide you with the services you request.
We take your privacy seriously
Benson Radiology protects your privacy by:
- only obtaining information about your health, as is necessary for health purposes, in accordance with this privacy statement or with your consent
- keeping your health information secure
- giving you reasonable access to the information we have concerning you
- allowing you to withdraw your consent at any stage
- providing you with a mechanism for complaints relating to privacy issues
- ensuring a process for working with the office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner to resolve any complaints that cannot be resolved directly with you
- providing procedures and instructions for staff to ensure that privacy processes are adhered to
- continuing to review and improve our privacy practices
Why does Benson Radiology collect personal information?
During the course of medical imaging, we may collect and hold personal information (including sensitive health information) in order to:
- make an assessment of your health status
- understand individual needs so we can provide the medical service required
- send out reminders regarding appointments
- contact the individual to offer advice and information in relation to how the service will be or has been provided
- enhance the quality of our service
- administer and manage the provision of internal services including billing and debt collection
- advise our patient’s medical provider/s on the findings of our service relative to the information collected
- conduct customer satisfaction surveys
- respond to your enquiries or complaints
What personal information may Benson Radiology collect and hold?
The information collected normally includes information such as:
- name, date of birth and gender
- financial information
- address (postal and email) and telephone numbers
- Medicare, pension, Veteran Affairs, health fund and health insurance details
- medical history, test results (eg blood results), previous scans and other health information including where relevant to the examination a patient’s family or social history
- Motor Accident Compensation/Work Cover claim number and details
- law firm details if service relates to legal claim
- medical provider/s details
- emergency contact details
- other information required for Benson Radiology functions and activities
If we receive unsolicited personal information which we would not normally have collected and this information is not relevant to us providing a service to you, we will destroy or de-identify the information.
How is personal information collected at Benson Radiology?
Normally we collect personal information directly from you. We may however collect personal information from third parties such as:
- an individual’s health service provider (eg imaging request forms sent to us, appointments made by the referrer)
- an individual’s medical provider(s)
- family of the individual
Other sources as necessary to provide our service.
Disclosure of personal information
We may need to disclose personal information to organisations/persons where reasonably necessary and is relevant in the context of your treatment. This might include disclosing information to:
- health professionals involved in the care of the patient
- hospital medical staff
- registered health professionals granted access to our secure referrer portal (Benson Connect)
- pathology professionals analysing samples taken during a medical imaging procedure
- your representative(s) eg a guardian, carer, translator/intermediary and/or authorised representative (such as a family member or legal advisor)
- other institutions directly related to the individual’s medical treatment such as health funds for billing, processing of claims and auditing purposes
- health services or enforcement bodies in situations where Benson Radiology is informed that there is a serious threat to life, health or safety
- court in response to a subpoena or to a “notice of non-party disclosure”
- local and offshore contractors whom we have partnered with, under strict confidentiality and privacy requirements, including those that relate to cross border disclosure, to provide services to our business operations
- consultant medical specialists or other health professionals who inform us are involved in your ongoing health care and who have been requested to provide further advice on your medical condition
We may disclose personal information for other purposes such as:
- legislative and regulatory compliance requirements
- to comply with enforcement related activities conducted by a law enforcement body (in this circumstance we will make a note of this disclosure)
- billing and debt recovery
- servicing and repair of equipment
- activities directly related to the provision of health services to an individual where the individual would reasonably expect disclosure
In the case of one of our patients becoming incapable of giving or communicating their consent to disclose, we may disclose personal information to a ‘responsible person’ (as defined in the Privacy Act 1988) if it is necessary in order to provide appropriate treatment, care or for compassionate reasons where there is a reasonable expectation we would do so, unless the individual has requested otherwise. We do not sell your personal or health information.
Third party providers
We may engage third party providers in the provision of medical imaging services. In doing so we will take reasonable steps to ensure that these third party service providers are bound by appropriate privacy protections, substantially similar to those protections that bind Benson Radiology.
We have arrangements with a third party partner to provide medical imaging reporting services in some urgent after hours situations which may require the transfer and storage of personal information outside of Australia (mostly the United Kingdom). Our third party partner is an Australian based company and is bound by the same protections that bind Benson Radiology.
We have arrangements in place for some patient reports to be typed outside of Australia (the Philippines). Our third party provider for these services is an Australian owned company that is bound by Australian privacy laws for their work both in Australia and in the Philippines.
We also have partnerships with third party providers based in New Zealand and Canada for the maintenance and upgrading of our radiology information systems and picture archiving and communications systems. We do not store patient data overseas however these partners may connect to Benson Radiology to perform maintenance or upgrade works on our systems.
Storage and security of personal information at Benson Radiology
We store personal information on paper and electronically. Records are held securely in Australia for future retrieval in accordance with applicable regulatory and legislative requirements and good business practice. If Benson Radiology no longer needs, or is required, to retain information, we will take reasonable steps in the circumstances to destroy the information or will ensure that the information is de-identified. We take the following steps to ensure personal information is protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure:
- implement security procedures for access to our business premises and within our offices, as well as IT security procedures including password protection (which is regularly changed), firewalls and site monitoring
- only allow access to personal information where we are satisfied the individual requesting this meets identification requirements
All personal and health information will be disposed of in a secure manner once retained for the period required by law.
We will seek our patients’ consent to use their personal information for direct marketing. We may contact our referring practitioners to keep them up to date with new techniques or services we are providing where it would be reasonably expected we would do so. You may choose to opt out of direct marketing communications. Please contact our privacy officer (Public Relations Manager) as per contact details below, at any time if you do not wish to be contacted for direct marketing purposes. If you request not to receive direct marketing or market research information, please note that we will still contact you to provide you with relevant information in respect of your ongoing health care.
Access to personal information
We believe it is best for patients to consult their referring health professional about their imaging results. This allows the results to be explained in the context of any further testing and the patient’s ongoing health program. Reports and images are issued to your health professional by one (or several) of the following methods:
- secured in a film packet/envelope
- by fax to a known number of the referring health professional (when requested by that health professional)
- via secure electronic means to the individual’s health professional’s practice software
Benson Radiology provides a confidential film delivery service. If this is unacceptable to you, please arrange with our staff to collect your own films. Generally copies of reports and images will be given straight to the patient unless otherwise directed by the patient. If you intend to have another person collect your films on your behalf, you must provide written consent to this collection, including the name of the person collecting your films.
You may request access to your personal information including a copy of your report. To preserve your privacy, this cannot be emailed, faxed or posted. Patients wanting copies must attend a Benson Radiology branch so we can identify you as the patient and verify your personal details, including sighting a photo ID (eg drivers licence). In some circumstances requests to access information may be denied for specific reasons as set out in the privacy act. If your request is denied, a reason will be given to you in writing including mechanisms to complain about our refusal.
If a patient misplaces films or additional copies are required this may be requested and can be provided to the patient. We may request a fee for this service. We will inform of any costs before they are incurred.
Accurate and up-to-date personal information
Benson Radiology takes reasonable steps to ensure the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up-to-date. To assist us keeping your information accurate and up to date we ask patients to:
- advise us of any errors they notice within their personal information
- update us with any changes to personal information
You may also request that we correct the personal information we hold about you if you consider it to be inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading. We will need to verify your personal details, including sighting a photo ID (eg drivers licence). Where possible, we will notify relevant health organisations of corrections to information that we may have provided them. In some circumstances requests to correct information may be denied for specific reasons. If your request is denied, a reason will be given to you in writing including mechanisms to complain about our refusal.
Online privacy and information submitted electronically
Our website contains forms for people to request information or supply feedback. In some cases telephone numbers and email addresses may be required. This information will only be used for the intended purpose. Benson Radiology may track and report website traffic, but this data will not reflect any identifying information.
Benson Radiology provides registered health professionals and hospital medical staff a secure web-based password-protected portal to access patient images and reports. Your personal information, including sensitive health information such as images and reports, may be made available through this portal to your referring health professional. With your express consent, or the express consent of another person acting for you (such as a parent acting for a child), or in situations where Benson Radiology is informed that there is a serious threat to life, health or safety, we may also provide access to other health professionals.
Users of this service are subject to an obligation to collect health information with your consent and, in many cases, are bound by codes of practice that deal with obligations of professional confidentiality relevant to their profession.
Before a health professional is granted online access they must accept the terms set out in a user access agreement stating that the information is required in order to provide a medical service and that it will not otherwise be used or knowingly shared or disclosed. Our systems track, record and store all access activity on every patient file.
If you have concerns about how we have treated your personal information or privacy generally we encourage you to contact our Public Relations Manager who will try to answer any questions and correct any errors on Benson Radiology’s part. Your complaint will be investigated and a response will be sent to you as quickly as possible (normally within 30 days of receipt of the complaint).
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may refer the matter to the office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner via the following methods:
Privacy commissioner number: 1300 363 992
Or visit the website of the office of the Australian Information Commissioner: http://www.oaic.gov.au/
Contacting Benson Radiology
Patients are welcome to ask any question regarding privacy and the way Benson Radiology manages personal information, complain about the handling or their own information or request access to their personal information. Please direct such enquiries to:
The Consumer Advisor
4 Greenhill Road
Wayville SA 5034
Phone (08) 8239 0550