At The Fertility Centre our primary concern is providing you with treatment and healthcare of the highest quality. This requires a relationship of trust and confidentiality – one where we treat your personal health information appropriately and respect your privacy.
Our fertility specialists, nurses, scientists, counsellors and administration staff work together to provide your fertility treatment. They may need access to your personal health information to make sure we provide the most appropriate care.
You are entitled to know what personal information is held about you, how you can access it, why it is held, to whom we may disclose it, and when we need your consent to do this. This Policy explains all these details. You can discuss any issue relating to the privacy of your information with your doctor or any staff member, at any time.
Our fertility specialists and staff collect information that helps us provide the level of advice, care and management you need, or where there is a statutory requirement for collection.
This information may include:
- contact details and date of birth
- relationship status
- medical history
- family medical history
- symptoms, diagnosis and recommended treatment
- Medicare/private health fund details, and
- billing or account details.
We normally collect this information directly from you, but we may need to get it from other sources – for example, from other medical practitioners, health funds or health providers and, with your consent, from family members.
Purposes for handling your information
To ensure we provide you with the most appropriate treatment, our fertility specialists and staff may collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for any of the following purposes:
- sharing your information within the treatment team
- communicating with the referring medical practitioners
- referrals to other medical practitioners, hospitals or health providers
- referring specimens to external laboratories for analysis
- accounts and billing, including Medicare and private health insurance claims
- managing our practice – including quality assurance, practice accreditation, market analysis and keeping our records up-to-date
- complaints and incident handling, and notifications to our insurers
- disclosure, where legally required, to third parties – for example, in response to a court subpoena or for mandatory reporting of specific diseases
- disclosure to our service providers, where doing so is necessary for your treatment or for our management and administrative purposes
- providing required information to the Director-General of the NSW Ministry of Health, including the name of any gamete donor and the identity of any baby born following gamete donation, to be kept in the central ART donor register, in compliance with regulatory requirements
- providing a small sample of case-notes for confidential review as part of annual Code of Practice audits by the national Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC), or its agents, in compliance with regulatory requirements
- in rare instances, sharing your information with our clinical ethics review committee (which has members who are not part of The Fertility Centre), if they need to determine whether your care meets our treatment guidelines, and
- submitting a de-identified summary to the Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) of every treatment we perform. This information may be further supplied to other government and statutory bodies, all in compliance with regulatory requirements. In all these cases we remove any information that personally identifies you.
We may also use non-identifying information from your medical file for data analysis and research.
From time-to-time, we may send you information regarding operational updates, and about our products and services that may be of interest to you. You will be able to opt out of receiving these communications when you receive them or you can contact us.
If you request us to send materials related to your treatment to another country we will be required to disclose your personal information to people in that country.
We use secure services, hosted in the United States, to manage communications and events. Accordingly, some of your personal information may be securely held by that service in the United States. We use globally hosted (country of storage changes intermittently) secure servers to process some patient and client information for market analysis purposes.
The diagnosis and treatment of infertility often involves more than one person (for example, your partner, donors or surrogates). Where you are undergoing treatment with a partner, it is our policy to share all your information with your partner UNLESS you tell us not to disclose your information to your partner.
Data quality and security
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the personal information we collect, use, hold or disclose is accurate, complete, up-to-date and relevant to the functions and services we provide. You can help us achieve this by providing correct and up-to-date information, as described in our Patient Rights and Responsibilities document. When we exchange your personal information internally, we will do so via encrypted emails where possible. If you ask us to exchange your personal information with an external party, we may send your personal information by unencrypted (ie, normal) email to ensure that the external recipient can access this information.
We store your personal information securely and protect it from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Access and correction
In all but a few rare cases, you can access the personal information we hold about you, in part or in full, or ask us to provide it to a third party such as another healthcare provider.
We may require you to make this request in writing. There may be an administration fee for this service, depending on the nature of access required.
If you feel any of the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate or incomplete, please let us know. It is our policy to note your corrections and add them to your records. In accordance with good clinical practice, we do not erase the original record.
Retention of records
To ensure we comply with regulatory requirements, we retain records relating to the use of donated gametes or embryos (including the identity of the donor, the recipient and any offspring born as a result of the donation) for a period of 50 years.
It is our policy to retain other medical records for a period of 25 years from the date of last treatment or the date of birth of any child born as a result of the treatment, whichever is the later. Personal information that does not form part of a medical record will be destroyed or de-identified once it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was collected.
We want to make sure your expectations about your privacy protection are the same as ours. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your doctor or any member of our staff. If, after this discussion, you still have concerns, you can contact our Privacy Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also complain to:
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 1042
Privacy hotline 1300 363 992
Health Care Complaints Commission
Level 13, 323 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Locked Mail Bag 18, STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012
T: (02) 9219 7444
Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection
Office of the commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection
Level 6 121 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3000
T: (03) 1300 666 444
Office of the Health Services Commissioner (Victoria)
Level 30 570 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC 3000
T: (03) 8601 5200