Care and treatment
Your care and treatment may be provided by a team of health professionals working together. Your personal information may be disclosed to those health care workers involved in, or consulted in relation to, your treatment and associated administration and to the extent required to meet that purpose (including participation in multi-disciplinary team meetings). In some cases, this information may be made available electronically to the relevant health professionals, including by way of a secure portal. These health professionals may share your personal information as part of the process of providing health care services to you.
You may be referred for diagnostic tests such as pathology or radiology and our staff may consult with senior medical experts when determining your diagnosis or treatment. With developments in technology (e.g. telemedicine) our staff may consult with health professionals and medical experts located remotely, including outside Epworth, in relation to your diagnosis or treatment, including by sending health information and clinical images.
Our staff may also refer you to other health service providers for further treatment during and following your admission (for example, to a physiotherapist or outpatient or community health services). We may disclose your personal information to the relevant provider to the extent required for any such referral (including disclosing that information electronically).
Medical and pharmaceutical products and equipment
If you require prosthesis or another medical implantable product as part of your treatment, we may in some cases disclose your personal information to the manufacturer or supplier of that product to ensure appropriate supply of that product and to enable appropriate follow up.
If you require medications, pharmaceutical preparations or products as part of your treatment, we will disclose your personal information to our third party pharmaceutical supplier to ensure appropriate supply of the required medicine or item and to enable appropriate follow up.
If you require robot-assisted surgery as part of your treatment, we may in some cases disclose your personal information to the manufacturer or supplier of that equipment to ensure appropriate use of the equipment and to enable appropriate follow up.
Your local doctor
We will ordinarily send a discharge letter or summary which will include details of your care and management at Epworth to your general practitioner or the specialist who referred you to Epworth, unless you request that we do not do so. If appropriate, we may send a letter to other health professionals and individuals involved in your post discharge care. For example, to a physiotherapist or home nursing service.
If you do not want us to provide a copy of your discharge summary to your nominated general practitioner, specialist or other health professionals you must let us know. Alternatively, if your nominated general practitioner has changed or your general practitioner's details have changed following a previous admission, you must let us know.
Other health service providers
If you are being treated by a medical practitioner or health care facility that needs to have access to the health record of your treatment at an Epworth facility, we will generally require an authorisation from you to provide a copy of your record to that medical practitioner or health care facility. However, we may provide information about your health records to another medical practitioner or health facility outside Epworth without your consent if:
- it is necessary for your care or treatment; or
- in the event of an emergency where your life or health is at risk,
- and you are not able to provide consent or as approved or authorised by law.
Relatives, guardian, close friends, or legal representative
We may provide information about your condition to your spouse or partner, parent, child, other relatives, close personal friends, guardians, appointed medical treatment decision maker or support person or a person exercising your power of attorney under an enduring power of attorney or who you have appointed your enduring guardian, unless you tell us that you do not wish us to disclose your personal information to any such person.
Suppliers and contractors
Public patient services
Epworth provides some health services to public patients under contracts with public health services and government agencies. Where you receive services from us as a public patient under any such arrangements, Epworth will disclose your personal information (which in some cases may include a copy of your medical record for the relevant admission) to the relevant public health services and government agencies in accordance with our contractual obligations and the privacy laws.
The Australian Government’s My Health Record system provides an online summary of a person’s health information. We may access and use your My Health Record information, in accordance with the access controls that you have set for the system, so that we can provide you with services. You may opt out of the My Health Record system. If you have not opted out of the My Health Record system, and you do not want us to access your My Health Record, you must modify the access controls you have set.
Invitation to participate in research or clinical trials
At times Epworth may become aware of research or clinical trials which may be relevant to your medical condition. Epworth may use your personal information to assess your suitability for participation in the research or clinical trial in order to provide you with initial information about the research or clinical trial. Other than as authorised by law, Epworth will not disclose your personal information to the clinical trial researcher without your consent.
Where required or permitted by law
We may disclose your personal information to a third party where we are legally required to do so, for example, if we receive a subpoena. We may disclose personal information to an approved government department or agency, safety and quality body or law enforcement agency where required or permitted by law, for example in relation to locating missing persons, service of documents, census information collection, maintenance of a health or disease register or specified quality and safety purposes.
Other common patient specific uses
Below are some further examples of other common circumstances where we may use and disclose your personal information.
- To send you reminders for appointments or follow up care, to check pre-admission details or to inform you about out of pocket expenses.
- To manage your account with us and to charge you (or a third party) for the services we provide.
- To communicate with your private health insurer, Medicare and other government agencies (for example, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, WorkCover, TAC) involved in funding your health care.
- To ask you to participate in a patient survey or quality improvement activities. We may disclose personal information to a service provider who assists us with these activities. You have the right to decline to participate in these activities.
- For certain activities and functions related to Epworth’s business and operations, such as quality assurance and improvement, patient satisfaction assessments, audit (clinical and non-clinical), accreditation, service planning, service funding, risk assessment and management and claims investigation and management. We may disclose your personal information to our insurer and to other people or organisations we engage to assist us with these activities.
- For training and educating our staff. Where possible, we will use appropriate measures to remove information that identifies any individual when using it for these activities.
- Where you have been provided with an opportunity to opt-out of receiving contact from Epworth Medical Foundation (EMF) in relation to fundraising support and you have not opted-out of receiving such contact, we may disclose your name and contact details to EMF.
- We may anonymise or aggregate the personal information that we collect for the purpose of carrying out customer, service, health outcome and other business analytics.
Non-patient specific examples
Camera surveillance systems
Application for accreditation by health professionals
Epworth collects personal information from health professionals seeking accreditation and submitting to the credentialing process under the Epworth Foundation By-laws. Personal information provided by health professionals in this context is collected, used, stored and disclosed by Epworth for the purposes of fulfilling its obligations in connection with the Epworth Foundation By-laws.
Job applicants, students and trainees
We may use and disclose the personal information of job applicants and individuals undertaking work experience or a student or trainee placement to assess and manage their engagement or employment, for insurance purposes and to comply with our legal obligations.
Epworth may store information provided by job applicants who were unsuccessful for the purposes of future recruitment or employment opportunities.
Epworth may store information provided by students or trainees following placement for the purpose of future recruitment or employment opportunities. If you do not want us to store your information in such circumstances, please let us know.
Education and community engagement
Epworth may offer opportunities for health practitioners to participate in educational events or seminars for the purpose of continuing professional development or community engagement. When you register for or attend an event, Epworth may collect your personal information for the purpose of providing the service and recording your attendance.
Epworth may disclose your personal information to third parties for the purpose of confirming your attendance at the event including the provision of attendance records or certification. With your express consent, we may use your information for other purposes such as including you on a marketing mail list, fundraising or research, to promote Epworth goods and services and to improve and personalise our service offerings.
Epworth collects personal information contained within ethics review applications made to Human Research Ethics Committees. Personal information provided in this context is collected, used, stored and disclosed by Epworth for the purpose of managing the ethics review application.
Epworth also collects personal information contained within research governance review applications relating to clinical research to be conducted at an Epworth facility or involving data held by an Epworth facility. Personal information provided in this context is collected, used, stored and disclosed by Epworth for the purpose of managing the research governance review application.
Other common non patient specific uses
We may also use your personal information where necessary for:
- activities such as quality assurance processes, in accordance with government accreditation, audits, statistical analysis, risk and claims management;
- invoicing, billing and account management, including storage of provider details on Epworth billing software;
- the purpose of complying with any applicable laws – for example, in response to a subpoena or compulsory reporting to State or Federal authorities (for example, for specified law enforcement or public health and safety circumstances or upload to the Australian Immunisation Register where you have received a vaccination by Epworth or at an Epworth facility).
We may anonymise or aggregate the personal information that we collect for the purpose of carrying out customer, service and other business analytics.
Other uses with your consent
With your consent we can also use your information for other purposes such as including you on a marketing mail list, fundraising or research, statistical analysis, to promote Epworth’s services and to improve and personalise our service offerings. Unless you provide us with your express consent for this purpose, we will not use your personal information in this way.