Policies and Appointments

Policy

 PATHOLOGY RESULTS

 Patients are encouraged to see their own GP for necessary investigations to enhance continuity of care.

It is DoctorDoctor policy that it is preferable for tests to be conducted by a patient’s usual GP, as follow up of results is more practical, or in the case of more urgent tests that emergency care providers may be more appropriate. If a DoctorDoctor doctor does instigate tests, the following policy is followed.

1.         The doctor that orders the test is responsible for the test.

2.         The doctor will always copy the GP on the request as extra insurance for follow up and for continuity of care acting as their deputy.

3.         DoctorDoctor FCM call management system records that a test has been initiated – when clinically significant, this is indicated also via FCM.

4.         DoctorDoctor administrative staff assists the doctor to ensure appropriate protocols are followed and assist them in meeting their obligation as the doctor that ordered the test.

5.         When results are received at the DoctorDoctor office:

a. the doctor that ordered the test is notified that the results can be viewed on the applicable docket number for the patient;

b. the doctor reviews the result;

c. the doctor will contact the patient when follow up is required and advise the office once this is completed;

d.DoctorDoctor confirms that the patient’s usual GP has also received a copy of the test result;

e. where the GP has not received a copy, DoctorDoctor staff forwards a copy and confirms receipt;

f. a copy of the result and letter advising of the need for follow up is sent to the patient;

g. the result is scanned and attached to the patient’s file in Documents (it must be noted in the Description box that the result has gone to the GP and emailed to the Deputising Doctor, dated and staff initialed. It is then also attached to the appropriate docket number);

h. where the DoctorDoctor doctor is not contactable and the GP has received the result, the GP is requested to follow up with their patient;

i. where both the DoctorDoctor doctor and the patient’s regular GP is not available, the DoctorDoctor Medical Director is contacted to follow up on the results;

6.         When clinical significant tests are requested by the doctor:

a. if the results have not been received by DoctorDoctor within 5 days, DoctorDoctor administrative staff will contact the patient for follow up as to whether the tests have been conducted;

b. if the doctor has not been advised of the result of clinically significant tests within 5 days, the doctor will contact DoctorDoctor to initiate or verify that contact has been made with the patient for follow up.

It is DoctorDoctor policy that if a Deputising Doctor initiates testing of a patient, it is that Doctor’s responsibility to follow up on both the results of this testing and also that any recommendation to conduct clinically significant tests are followed up with the patient, if it has not been acted upon.

It is very rare for Deputising doctors to review, act upon and incorporate in the medical record details of pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports and clinical correspondence, given DoctorDoctor ’ role as an afterhours medical deputising service providing episodes of care – in the interests of continuity of care, these details are generally referred immediately to the patient’s own GP.

In the very rare case where tests are commissioned, the Deputising Doctor makes a written request that the results are sent to the patient’s GP address and a copy to DoctorDoctor to enable review if the patients GP is unavailable to review test results.

There are two exceptions to this general rule:

·         if the patient does not have a GP (but has been referred by DoctorDoctor  to a GP member practice) and the matter is urgent;

·         if patient does have GP – but the matter is urgent and the GP member practice is not likely to open soon given, say, an extended public holiday period.

 In each of these cases, DoctorDoctor policy requires that the Deputising Doctor:

·         urgently reviews the pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports and clinical correspondence;

·         calls the patient for a phone consultation or to arrange a follow up home visit consultation to discuss the results with the patient;

·         initiates any urgent follow up action required (as agreed with the patient); 

·         incorporates the salient details of the pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports and clinical correspondence – as well as any further advice given to the patient in the consultation – in the medical record of the consultation; 

·         where the patient does have a GP, and where necessary – the Deputising Doctor may call the GP using the GP’s afterhours contact telephone number (as provided to DoctorDoctor ); and

·         give the patient the pathology results, diagnostic imaging reports and clinical correspondence (if the Deputising Doctor is not with the patient, the Deputising Doctor sends the documents to the patient by secure mail).

If a report or test is sent by the pathology lab etc. to DoctorDoctor – DoctorDoctor day staff immediately contact the patient’s GP to inquire whether a copy has been received. If so, the results are sent to the patient by secure mail, along with a letter suggesting that for their own wellbeing that they contact their own GP as soon as possible to follow up such tests. If not, DoctorDoctor fax the results or if required contacts a courier immediately to deliver this test to the patient’s GP. DoctorDoctor then call the GP member practice to confirm receipt. DoctorDoctor is also utilising technology that enables copies of results (the original having gone to the patients GP) to be uploaded and attached to the patients consult record on our call management system.

If the patient does not have a GP, DoctorDoctor  day staff contact the Deputising Doctor who attended the patient; the Deputising Doctor is required to review the results as soon as practicable. After review, any necessary notes are made to the patient’s medical record and the originals are sent to the patient.

If for some reason the Deputising Doctor who attended the patient is not available to review the results, the DoctorDoctor  Medical Director or Medical Advisor is required to review the results as soon as practicable. After review, any necessary notes are made to the patient’s medical record and the originals are sent to the patient.

DoctorDoctor has also recently developed its customer relations software to provide visibility of the audit trail of investigations to our Deputising Doctor on the home screen of their individual login. This will enhance the ability of doctors to monitor the entire process personally, initial such review and initiate any further follow up as and when required.

In the interests of continuity of care, the medical record of the consultation is sent by DoctorDoctor to the patient’s GP (or new GP, as the case may be) on the next business day. This report contains information regarding any investigations.

 

In the circumstance where our Call Centre is contacted regarding urgent test results for the patients of one of our subscribing General Practice, the call centre staff will contact that practices afterhours emergency contact immediately and document that contact in our CRM system.. If they are unable to reach the nominated contact and the diagnostic company does not have a doctor to act on these results, one of our Deputising Doctors will be contacted to review the results and contact the patient concerned as appropriate.

Telephone and electronic communications policy

Emergencies: Where immediate attention is required, a Deputising Doctor takes calls (from the Operations Supervisor only – but not patients – for Deputising Doctor safety reasons the Deputising Doctor calls the patient directly – e.g. providing first aid advice over the phone while the patient is waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Non-emergencies: DoctorDoctor Deputising Doctors provide telephone consultations to patients as soon as possible after they receive the patient’s details from the Operations Supervisor. DoctorDoctor requires that, for personal security and privacy reasons, a Deputising Doctor’s mobile phone number and other personal contact details never be given out to patients. If a patient asks to speak to a Deputising Doctor, this must be done through a Customer Service Officer. The Customer Service Officer takes down the patient’s details and then asks the Doctor to call the patient (either by calling the Doctor, or by sending the Doctor an encrypted message – or SMS text message with the patient contact details, and then confirming receipt). All callers to DoctorDoctor hear a recorded message advising them to contact 000 if they have an emergency before speaking with a call centre representative and Customer Service Officers will always ask patients if the matter is an emergency before putting them on hold.

Emergencies and potential emergencies – must be dealt with in accordance with the Call Triage and Referral Protocol.

If the patient calls DoctorDoctor  with continuing medical concerns even after seeing a Doctor that same night/shift: Unless an emergency, the Operations Supervisor calls the same Deputising Doctor who previously attended the patient (wherever possible), to provide a further telephone and/or home visit consultation for the patient 

A separate medical record is made by each Deputising Doctor for each such telephone consultation, confirming that they do in fact call each patient for this purpose. Where contact is not made, doctors will note the time of the unsuccessful attempt in the record of that patients consultation.

 

DoctorDoctor does not take patient bookings via email, however an auto generated reply is in placed on  administrative emails that advises patients of this fact, provides the phone number to make bookings or contact administration during business hours and provides a timeframe for when any emails are likely to be replied to, that is within 3 business days.

 COMPLAINTS

We take patient concerns, suggestions and complaints seriously. Please write to, or contact our Client Service Manager Mr Andrew Crowley during business hours to discuss any matter. For matters to be dealt with outside this practice, please contact the following formal complaint body in Melbourne: Victorian Health Services Commissioner Level 26, 570 Bourke Street Melbourne, Vic 3000 Tel: 1300 582 113. E: hsc@health.vic.gov.au

If you are in Perth  for matters to be dealt with outside this practice, please contact the following formal complaint body in Perth: The Office of Health Review;GPO Box B61;Perth WA 6838;Phone (08) 9323 0600

In Brisbane for matters to be dealt with outside this practice, please contact the following formal complaint body:

The Office of the Health Ombudsman

PO Box 13281

George Street Brisbane QLD 4003

Phone: 133 646

In Sydney for matters to be dealt with outside this practice, please contact the following formal complaint body:

Health Care Complaints Commission

Level 13, 323 Castlereagh Street (corner of Hay St)

Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: 1800 043 159

Privacy Information

 Privacy Policy

Sonic Clinical Services Pty Ltd (ABN 13 083 519 377), a division of Sonic Healthcare Limited (ABN 24 004 196 909) (Sonic), is committed to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of your personal information.

The Sonic Clinical Services group includes the Australian businesses trading as IPN Medical Centres, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, DoctorDoctor, Sonic Nurse Connect and Sonic HealthPlus.

In this document, Sonic Clinical Services Pty Ltd is variously referred to as Sonic Clinical Services, Us and We.

This Privacy Policy (Policy) intends to clearly describe how Sonic Clinical Services handles your personal information, including its collection, use, disclosure and security, and any personal information that we collect through our website(s).

SonicClinicalServicescomplieswiththePrivacyAct1988(Cth)(PrivacyAct),theassociatedAustralianPrivacyPrinciples(APPs) and state or territory legislation that governs how private sector health service providers should handle your personal information, including, but not limited to, healthinformation.

From time to time, we may amend this Policy, in whole or part, at our sole discretion.

Any changes to this Policy will be effective immediately upon posting the revised Policy on our website(s). We will deem that you have agreed to such changes if you continue to access our services following any changes. If you do not accept the terms of this Policy, as amended from time to time, in whole or part, you must not access our services, including our website(s).

 

 
 

Consent

Sonic Clinical Services is committed to ensuring that any personal information we collect is obtained lawfully, transparently and with your consent, whenever it is practical for us to do so.

By providing personal information to us, you consent to us collecting, using and disclosing your personal information as described in this Policy.

In some circumstances, where it is not reasonable or practical for us to collect this information directly from you, responsible persons (for example, a spouse or partner, close family member, emergency contact or enduring medical power of attorney) may consent on your behalf.

 

 
 

Collection of personal information

 

Who does Sonic Clinical Services collect personal information about?

We may collect personal information from patients, healthcare professionals, employees, contracted service providers, students, trainees, suppliers and other individuals with whom we engage in the course of our usual business operations.

You are not required to provide personal information to us. However, if the information you provide to us is incomplete or inaccurate, the services we provide to you may be affected.

 

How do we collect personal information?

We will usually collect your personal information directly from you or by email, telephone, written correspondence or via our website(s). Where it is not reasonable or practical for us to collect this information directly from you, we may need to collect information about you from a third party. We may also collect information from a third party where your health may be at risk, and we need your personal information to provide you with emergency medical treatment.

The third parties from whom we may collect your personal information include:

   otherhealthserviceproviders,includinghealthcareprofessionals,hospitals,clinicsandotherpathologypracticesiftheyhave referred you to us or are involved in your care. (Your doctor will generally explain why they are collecting the information and where it isgoing.)

   your nominated responsible persons (such as a relative orcarer)

   theMyHealthRecordprogramoperatedbytheAustralianCommonwealthDepartmentofHealth,ifyouhavechosento participate

   health insurers, law enforcement or other governmentinstrumentalities.


What types of information do we collect and hold?

The type of personal information we collect about you depends on who you are, our relationship with you and the nature of our interaction with you.

The personal information we collect about you will include only the information that is necessary or required:

   toprovideyouwithservices(including,inthecaseofpatients,coordinatingandcommunicatingwithyourhealthcare providers)

   for us to engage with you in the usual course of ourbusiness

   for administrative and internal business purposes related to the services we provide toyou.

The personal information we collect may include:

   your name, age, gender, date of birth, contactdetails

   informationrelatingtoyourlifestyleandmedicalhistoryrelevanttoprovidinghealthcareservices(suchasyourmedications, diagnostic tests and treatments, family medical history, occupational history, genetic or biometric information and copies of correspondence to and from your healthcareproviders)

   relevantgovernmentandinsuranceidentifiers(suchasyourMedicarenumberorprivatehealthinsurancedetails),when necessary for billing or other administrativepurposes

   personal information collected in the form of clinical images andsamples

   records of our past engagement withyou

   any information relating to your employment (if you are a Sonic Clinical Services team member), including employment histories,applications,pre-employmentchecks,qualifications,trainingrecordsandinformationrequiredbylaws,regulationsor standards

   paymentdetails

   other information, occasionally including religion and ethnicity, that may be relevant in our dealings withyou.

 

Anonymity and pseudonymity

You may deal with us anonymously or by using a pseudonym:

   unlessitisimpracticableforustodoso,orunlesswearerequiredorauthorisedbylawtoonlydealwithidentifiedindividuals

   ontheunderstandingthatdoingsomaymeanthatwemaynotbeabletoprovidecertainservicestoyou,eitheratourusual standard, or atall.

 

 
 

How does Sonic Clinical Services use your information?

We will not use or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than the primary purpose for which it was collected (or a related secondary purpose). The exceptions to this are if you have consented to another purpose, or if we are permitted/required to do so by law, which may include:

   to coordinate and/or communicate with healthcare providers involved in yourcare

   toprocureadditionalhealthcareservicesonyourbehalf(suchasreferralstootherprovidersorobtainingsecondopinions)

   toconductactivitiesrelatedtoqualityassurance/improvementprocesses,accreditation,audits,riskandclaimsmanagement, patient satisfaction surveys and staff education andtraining

   toliaisewithyourhealthfund,insurer,Medicare,DepartmentofVeterans’Affairs,DepartmentofHealthoranotherpayeror contractor ofservices

   tofulfilregulatoryandpublichealthrequirements,includingliaisingwithregulatoryorhealthauthorities,asrequiredbylaw

   tosendyoustandardreminders(forexample,forappointmentsforfollow-upcare,accountmanagement),bytextmessage, mail or email, to the number or address that you have provided tous

   to handle a complaint or respond to anticipated or existing legalactions

   to obtain feedback about our services or provide advice or information to you about products, services, treatment options and clinical trials that are relevant toyou

   for billing andpayments

   to engage you (as a contractor) to provide products or services tous

   to consider your application for employment withus.

In addition, we may de-identify and/or aggregate the personal information that we collect to carry out clinical research, quality assurance or analytics relating to customer service, health outcomes and other business activities.

Sonic Clinical Services may use electronic processes when using your personal information as specified above. We may link, combine or share personal information about you in various databases created by any of Sonic Clinical Services’s businesses.

We will not seek your consent to use your personal information for the above purposes.


Use of personal information for direct marketing

Wemayuseyourpersonalinformationformarketingthatisdirectlyrelatedtoourservices,incompliancewithapplicablelaws,such as the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and Spam Act 2003 (Cth). We may engage third parties, under contract, to provide marketing services on ourbehalf.

You may advise us that you do not wish to receive direct marketing from us at any time by contacting us or by using the opt-out facilities provided in our client registration processes, informed consent procedures and the marketing communications you receive.

 

 
 

Disclosure of personal information to third parties

When providing services to you or otherwise engaging with you, we may disclose your personal information to trusted third parties, including:

   healthcareserviceprovidersorotherrelevantpartiesinvolvedinyourcareorrequestingservicesonyourbehalf(includingto obtain second opinions or make referrals, on your behalf, for specialist medicalservices)

   registries,statutorybodiesandotherthirdpartieswhererequestedtodosobyyouorasrequiredbylaw(suchasnational cancerregistries)

   approvedandtrustedcontractorsengagedinprovidingprofessionalservices(suchasdebtcollection,informationand communication technology providers, specialist clinicalservices).

Where we outsource any of our services or hire contractors to perform professional services, we will require them, under contract, to comply with the Privacy Act, or other relevant privacy legislation and, where applicable, our Privacy Policy.

We may use electronic processes to disclose your personal information as specified above, where available or relevant. Where we use document automation technologies to disclose your personal information (such as to generate appointment bookings, referrals, results or e-scripts), we will only disclose your information to the extent reasonably necessary and only for the purposes specified above.

We will not seek your additional consent to disclose your personal information for the purposes described above.

 

My Health Record

If you choose to participate in the My Health Record program operated by the Commonwealth Department of Health, we may access the personal information it contains. We may also disclose your personal information by uploading your health information electronically to the My Health Record system if requested to do so.

If you do not want us to access personal information stored in your My Health Record or upload health information to it, you may opt out or choose to modify access controls within the My Health Record system.

 

Cross-border disclosure

We may enter into arrangements with other related entities or third parties outside of Australia to store, access or use data we collect, including personal information, in order to provide services to us (such as data processing, analysis, interpretation or the performance of specialised tests). In such cases, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that the third parties do not breach the APPs, including by requiring that the third party has information security measures and information handling practices in place that are of an acceptable standard and approved by us.

The countries in which the recipients are likely to be located include, but are not limited to, those countries where the Sonic Clinical Services group operates (New Zealand, USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium).

 

 
 

Website

When you use our website(s), we do not identify you as an individual user and do not collect personal information about you, unless you specifically provide this to us.

Our website(s) may use cookies that allow us to gather anonymised statistics relating to the management of our website(s). These analytics may include, but are not limited to, your internet service provider (ISP), domain name, browser type and the pages you visit.

Our website(s) and our email communications may contain links to third-party websites. We do not control third-party websites or any oftheircontentandifyouvisitthesewebsites,theywillbegovernedbytheirowntermsofuse(includingprivacypolicies).Youshould satisfy yourself of the personal information handling policies of third-party websiteoperators.


 

Protecting your personal information

We take the protection of your personal information seriously and take all reasonable steps to ensure the information that we collect, use and disclose is accurate, secure and protected from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

 

Accuracy

Wewilltakereasonablestepstoensurethatthepersonalinformationwecollect,useordiscloseisaccurate,completeandcurrent. To assist us, please ensure that the information you provide to us is accurate, up-to-date and complete, and let us know when your personal informationchanges.

 

Security

We will take all reasonable steps to protect your personal information from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We use technologies and processes including, but not limited to, access controls, network firewalls, encryption and physical security measures to protect your privacy. We regularly review our information security processes to ensure they continue to offer an appropriate level of protection for your information.

 

Retention

When we no longer need your personal information for the purposes described in the Policy, and we are not required to retain it under relevant accreditation standards or law, we will destroy or permanently de-identify it.

 

Notification

Ifwebecomeawarethatunauthorisedaccessordisclosureofyourinformationhasoccurredandthereisalikelyriskofseriousharm associated with that unauthorised access or disclosure, we will notify you promptly and provide you with a recommended course of action wherenecessary.

 

 
 

Access to, and correction of, your personal information

 

Access

You have the right to request access to the personal information about you which we hold.

We will provide you with access to your information, unless there is a reason under the Privacy Act or other relevant law to refuse or limit such access, such as if we reasonably believe that giving access would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or public safety; or giving access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals.

You may request access to the personal information we hold about you by contacting our Privacy Officer (see below).

To protect your privacy, we will need you to verify your identity before providing access to your information. We may recover reasonable costs associated with supplying this information to you.

In the specific case of obtaining access to your pathology or radiology results, the preferred method is in consultation with your treating practitioner so that complex clinical information can be explained to you within the context of your individual circumstances.

 

Correcting your personal information

You have the right to request an amendment to the information we hold, should you believe it to be inaccurate.

If we are satisfied that any part of the information we hold about you is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, misleading or irrelevant, having regard for the purpose for which it is held, we will take reasonable steps to amend that information.

If we do not agree to change your personal information in accordance with your request, we will permit you to make a statement of the requested changes and we will enclose this with your personal information.

Should you wish to request changes to your personal information held by us, you can ask for our Privacy Officer (see below), who can give you more detailed information about our correction procedure.


 

Contacting Sonic Clinical Services about privacy issues and complaints

If you have comments or concerns relating to this Policy, or wish to make a complaint about our handling of your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer. We may need to verify your identity and ask for further details to investigate and respond to your concern or complaint. We will aim to respond to you within a reasonable time and generally within 21 days.

 

Sonic Clinical Services Privacy Officer contact details

 

 

Address

The Privacy Officer,

Sonic Clinical Services Level 21, Grosvenor Place, 225 George St,

Sydney NSW 2000

 

Email

 

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Appointments

Patients may request to book an after hours home visit consult from 6pm Monday to Friday, from 12 noon Saturday and all day Sunday and public Holidays.