As per New South Wales and Australian government legislation, patients have rights of access to health information held about them by this medical practice.
A patient request to access health information may be as simple as requesting a copy of their latest pathology results from their dermatologist during the course of a standard medical consultation.
Applying for a medical record copy.
An applicant must complete the Medical Record Access form (OMR2) online, which will collect applicant information, patient information and supporting request documents.
Once the Medical Record Access form (OMR2) has been completed, the information will be automatically sent to our clinic for processing and a member of our administration staff will contact the applicant to confirm the request and collect any fees chargeable.
The medical record access form can be found on the following page: OMR2 - Medical Record Access form
Who can request access to a medical record?
An applicant can request access to their own health information, or to another individual’s health information if they present evidence of written consent from that individual.
An applicant can also request access to information about an individual who is incapable of making the request, as their authorised representative. An applicant may have parental responsibility or guardianship over children or other individuals for whom they hold power of attorney.
Our clinic must ensure that the applicant requesting access to health information has the right to do so. We may request proof of an applicant’s identity and, where relevant, evidence of parental authority, guardianship and power of attorney.
Parent's accessing their child's records.
In most cases a parent applicant who holds parental responsibility or guardianship may be able to access their child’s records.
We may ask the parent or guardian applicant to provide evidence of that arrangement before providing access.
However, young patients between the ages of 14-16 may seek treatment without the knowledge of a parent or guardian, subject to the dermatologist's assessment of the patient's capacity to understand the consequences of any proposed treatment.
A similar assessment is made by the dermatologist in determining whether information can be disclosed to parents or guardians in situations where a young patient has the capacity to make independent decisions about their health care.
Timeframe to provide access.
The Health Records and Information Privacy Act (2002) requires that a response to a request for access must be given within 45 calendar days. This response must either be the granting of access to the requested information or a refusal to grant this access; any other communication about the request is not a response under the terms of the Act. If a response is not given within 45 calendar days it will be treated as if the request has been refused.
All medical record access requests are, however, processed as quickly as possible.
Appropriate refusal of access.
An applicant will be sent a response even when it is appropriate not to grant access. The response would include a clear explanation of why access can’t be granted, with reference to the specific reason as contained in the HRIP Act (2002).
It may be that access can be provided for parts of the information requested. In these cases, we will explain clearly why only partial access has been provided.
When will access not be granted?
There are some situations where access may not be granted. The most common situations are:
- Providing access would pose a serious threat to the patient's health, or the health of others;
- Providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
- The information requested relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between the patient and the provider;
- Providing access is unlawful;
- Denying access is required or authorised by or under law;
- The request has been made unsuccessfully on at least one previous occasion and there are no reasonable grounds for making the request again;
- There have been repeated, unreasonable requests for information to which access has already been given.
Law enforcement agencies or court orders may also prevent you from providing access.
Requests from insurers and third parties.
Consent of the patient must be obtained before releasing any information to a third party, including insurers or Insurance and Care NSW (iCare). Any information disclosed must be consistent with the consent provided.
What fees are charged?
Under the HRIP Act (2002), access should be provided without excessive expense. Fees can be charged to cover the cost of providing access to a medical record, such as administration, scanning and printing.
A copy fee of $10.00 will be charged for each copy of a record generated, either paper or digital.
The copy fee will be waived under the following circumstances:
- The record access request is for a medical record transfer, by secure download or fax only, to a verified medical facility to ensure continuing patient care; or
- The record delivery request is for an in-person collection of a printed medical record copy from Green Square Dermatology by the applicant or the patient.
An additional $10.00 fee will be charged to post a printed copy of the medical record by registered post.
For record access other than medical record transfer or patient review, the applicant will be notified of any additional processing fees that may apply.