AMA working with general practice to ensure patient privacy

28 Apr 2016

The AMA acknowledges the release of the privacy assessment report undertaken by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), which examined the privacy policies of 40 general practices across Australia.

Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP), Dr Brian Morton, who runs a busy suburban general practice in Sydney, said this week that patient privacy is a priority for every GP and every general practice.

Dr Morton said that the OAIC report showed that some general practices needed to do more to ensure that they had a privacy policy that was fully compliant with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP). The report does not suggest that patient privacy had been in any way compromised by any of the practices.

Dr Morton said that patient privacy is fundamental to the trust relationship between doctors and patients, and practices go to great lengths to ensure the privacy of their patients’ records.

“General practices are serious about protecting patient privacy, but the report sends a clear signal that we can do better, including with getting all the paperwork right.

“The AMA has already acted upon the concerns of the OAIC, updating our own Privacy and Health Record Resource Handbook to include an updated privacy policy template to guide practices when writing or updating their privacy policy.

“This resource is available on the AMA website at https://ama.com.au/article/privacy-and-health-record-resource-handbook-medical-practitioners-private-sector.

“The AMA will continue to work with practices to help them to navigate privacy laws, and have in place the right policies and processes to satisfy their legal and ethical obligations,” Dr Morton said.

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