Privacy and Confidentiality
Principles for the Collection of participant Information
QuestCare is committed to the principles outlined in the Privacy Act 1988 and Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 and has in place procedures that ensure compliance with the legislation including the protection of sensitive information including health information. The Service Handbook outlines our approach to maintaining privacy and confidentiality of client information.
Management and staff are provided with training and information on the rights of clients to privacy and confidentiality and the processes to support this.
The key guidelines for respecting client privacy and confidentiality in our organisation are:
- Client files and other information are securely stored in locked filing cabinets. All electronic information is password protected and only internal staff have access
- Our organisation takes steps to correct information where appropriate and regularly review service user information to ensure it is accurate and up to date
- We only collect information about clients that is relevant to the provision of support and we explain to clients why we collect the information and what we use it for
- We have a Service User Complaint Form that details approved consent
- We seek consent from clients to, in an emergency, disclose personal information to other health service providers as appropriate to provide emergency care or services
- We seek consent from participants to provide access to client records to government officials (or their delegates) in the conduct of quality reviews or the investigation of complaints. We advise clients that these individuals are required to keep all information accessed through this process confidential
- Information provided to government bodies regarding service provision does not identify the client. If any information is provided to outside government agencies for data purposes, we ensure that the information is de-identified and we make a note in the client’s record what information was shared and to whom
- Consent to share personal information can be withdrawn at any time by the client.
- Clients can ask to see the information that we keep about them and are supported to access this information if requested within 30 days of the request. Information is provided in a format accessible by the client. The client can nominate a representative to access the records held by us
- All information relating to clients is confidential and is not disclosed to any other person or organisation without the client’s permission
- We only share information when it is necessary to ensure appropriate support is delivered and only with the client’s permission/consent beforehand
- The provision of information to people outside the service is authorised by the relevant Manager
- We do not discuss a participant or their support with people not directly involved in supporting them
- Assessments and reviews are always conducted in private with the client (and/or guardian) and the QuestCare Manager unless the client consents to their carer, advocate or other personbeing present
- During client assessments the QuestCare Manager asks the client about any particular privacy requirements they have such as their preference for a male or female support worker etc. These are noted on their assessment form and on the support plan
- Any discussions between staff about a client are held in a private space
- Any references to individual clients in meeting minutes are referred with consideration of detail of the conversation
- We confidentially destroy any personal information held about our clients when it is no longer necessary to provide support.
Confidentiality of Complaints and Disputes
As far as possible, the fact that a client has lodged a complaint and the details of that complaint are kept confidential amongst staff directly concerned with its resolution. Similarly, information on disputes between a client and a staff member or a client and a carer is kept confidential. The client’s permission is obtained prior to any information being given to other parties whom it may be desirable to involve in the resolution of the complaint or dispute.
Client’s right to Access Information
Clients of QuestCare have a right to read any personal information kept about them. A request from a client (or their guardian) to access information is referred to the relevant QuestCare Manager who confirms the request and then arranges for the Client to view their information.
Access is provided to the client within two weeks from the date of the request.
A QuestCare Manager is available to assist the client in understanding the information and to explain terminology or other assistance, as required.
On advice from our legal representative, access to a client’s record may be denied. This will be discussed with the participant/guardian should this situation arise.
 Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 2014 Privacy Fact Sheet 17: Australian Privacy Principles