Skip to content
For information on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, visit https://agedcare.health.gov.au/announcement-of-royal-commission-into-aged-care-quality-and-safety

Privacy

May 2017

PRIVACY POLICY

PART A – ABOUT THIS PRIVACY POLICY

About this Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy explains how we, Healthdirect Australia Limited (‘Healthdirect Australia’) will collect and manage your and other people’s personal information via the Australian Government’s:

  • My Aged Care contact centre – phone 1800 200 422 (the ‘Contact Centre’); and
  • the My Aged Care website – myagedcare.gov.au (the ‘Website’).

Healthdirect Australia operates as the contracted service provider for the Department of Health (the ‘Department’) to manage the Contact Centre and Website. The Department is responsible for aged care services on behalf of the Australian Government. The Department and Healthdirect Australia may share personal information collected via the Contact Centre and Website for the purpose of administering aged care services, including managing complaints relating to the provision of the Services (which may include, but is not limited to, privacy complaints or complaints made to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner).

My Aged Care Contact Centre and Website

The Contact Centre and Website are operated by Healthdirect Australia as a service provider to the Department. The Website provides trusted and up to date information, resources and services relating to aged care for the benefit of the Australian public.

What are our privacy obligations?

In operating the Website and Contact Centre, Healthdirect Australia is required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (‘APPs’) which apply to ‘agencies’ under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the ‘Privacy Act’). Other Commonwealth, State and Territory laws may also apply to information collected and managed via the Website and Contact Centre.

PART B – OUR PERSONAL INFORMATION HANDLING PRACTICES

What personal information do we collect and hold?

We may collect your name, address, date of birth, gender, some medical history, information about your illnesses, symptoms, disabilities, your ethnic background and sexual practice (if relevant to your health or provision of the Services) and any other information required in order for us to provide you with:

(a) information or services relating to aged care;
(b) a health service (including an allied health service); and/or
(c) an aged care service (Services).

Some of the information we collect, such as health information, will be ‘sensitive information’ as defined by the Privacy Act.

How do we collect your personal information?

We collect personal information when you (or someone on your behalf) contact us, such as when you use our Services, when you access or request information on other services, or when you send us an email, fax, letter or complete an online or paper form.

We use audio recordings of all phone calls and online video consultations to help ensure that the advice given to you meets the highest standards of safety and quality and is equal to best international practice.

By providing your personal information to us (including any sensitive information about you, e.g. information about your health and medical details), you are consenting to us collecting, using, disclosing and handling that information as described in this Privacy Policy.

Do you have to identify yourself?

You may choose to deal with us anonymously or by providing a pseudonym. If you wish to remain anonymous when dealing with the Contact Centre, please advise the call operator assisting you. Providing your personal details enables us to provide you with a client record and reference number which allows you, and other authorised persons, to retrieve information about that call at a later date.

If you choose not to provide your personal information when you contact us via the Contract Centre or the Website, we may be unable to offer the full range of Services to you (e.g. our Make a Referral form).

We may also record information about health services to be provided to you in the future or your wishes about the future provision of health services.

You may be required to provide your postcode when using the search function on the Website in order to locate a Service near you.

Who do we collect your personal information from?

Where possible, we collect your personal information directly from you. By providing your personal information to us (including any sensitive information about you, e.g. information about your health and medical details), you are consenting to us collecting, using, disclosing and handling that information as described in this Privacy Policy.

We may collect personal information about you directly from the Department of Health. We may also collect personal information about you from another third party, e.g. for example from a GP, a residential aged care facility, an aged care provider, an assessment worker or any other health professional who is referring you for assessment or aged care services. We may also collect information about you from a family member, friend or other person who is providing you with care and who contacts us on your behalf.

If you disclose another person’s personal information to us (e.g. sensitive information about another person’s health and medical details), in providing that personal information to us you agree that:

  • you have drawn this privacy policy to that person’s attention;
  • that person has agreed to you providing their personal information to us; and
  • that person understands and agrees that we may use, disclose and manage their personal information as described in this Privacy Policy.

If Healthdirect Australia collects your personal information from someone else, Healthdirect Australia will take reasonable steps to:

  • confirm that you have consented to us collecting your personal information; and
  • let you know that Healthdirect Australia has collected your personal information (including notifying you of certain other matters under privacy law).

However, where you have been referred for an assessment as part of the Services, your information may be passed straight on to the relevant agency or assessment team and they will contact you or your authorised representative regarding the referral.

If you are contacting us on behalf of another person, we will also collect some personal information about you, including your name, contact details and your relationship to the person being referred.

Healthdirect Australia and the Department of Health may share your personal information with each other for the purpose of the Services.

What will we do with your personal information?

We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for purposes including:

  • arranging, facilitating or assisting in the provision of Services to you, including managing complaints relating to the provision of the Services (which may include, but is not limited to, privacy complaints or complaints made to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner);
  • providing information about, and supporting access to, relevant support and care services for older Australians;
  • creating a personalised client record and providing you with access to your record via myGov;
  • maintaining a central client record to improve service delivery and appropriate information sharing, including referrals, by aged care providers, assessment workers, residential care facilities, hospitals, and health professionals;
  • managing the Australian Government’s aged care system;
  • assisting Commonwealth, State or Territory health services or departments of health to provide you with services or to address issues you may raise with them;
  • service improvement;
  • compilation of data and statistical analysis for public health and safety; and
  • complying with our legal obligations.

We may share your information with Service providers such as an assessment worker, an aged care provider, a residential care facility which is managing your care, a hospital or a health professional. We may also share your information with your family member, friend or other person who is providing you with care (if they are authorised to receive your personal information). We may disclose your personal information to someone who is authorised to conduct your affairs if you become incapacitated.

We will share relevant information with health services and/or government bodies in the event of a national or jurisdictional health disaster in order that an appropriate health response can be provided.

We may contact you for feedback on your satisfaction with the Services.

We will only use your email address for the purpose for which you have provided it. We will not add you to any mailing lists without your prior consent. We will not use or disclose your email address for any other purpose without your consent, unless authorised or required by law.

We will generally not disclose your personal information to anyone except as described in this Privacy Policy without your consent.

We may also disclose your personal information if:

  • you would reasonably expect the disclosure to occur (for example, quality assurance purposes, training and the purpose of enhancing Healthdirect Australia's Services);
  • we are authorised or required by law to disclose it;
  • it will prevent or lessen a serious threat to someone’s life, health or safety or a threat to public health or safety;
  • it is required for public health surveillance where symptoms are mapped geographically to see if patterns arise as an early warning system identifying epidemics;
  • it is necessary as part of the establishment or defence of a legal claim;
  • it is requested by an enforcement agency such as the police;
  • it is a necessary part of an investigation following a complaint or incident; or
  • there is a change of service provider to Healthdirect Australia, in which case we may disclose your personal information to a new similar service provider.

When we disclose your personal information to third parties, we make all reasonable efforts to ensure we disclose only relevant information and that it is accurate, complete and up to date.

We will not sell or rent your personal information to anyone and will not transfer your information overseas unless you ask us to do so.

How do we protect your personal information?

We have systems and procedures in place to protect your personal information from misuse and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

PART C – OUR WEBSITE

This part of our Privacy Policy explains privacy issues that are specific to the Website.

The Website has been tested to an advanced level of site security. However, users are advised that there are inherent risks in transmitting information across the internet, including the risk that information sent to or from a website may be intercepted, corrupted or modified by third parties. If you have any security concerns, or if you wish to provide personal information by other means (e.g. by telephone or paper), you may contact Healthdirect Australia using the contact details set out at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

Can you remain anonymous when using the Website?

Yes, you can use the Website without identifying yourself or disclosing other personal information. You can access all information on the Website without needing to disclose your personal information. However, if you choose to remain anonymous, this may affect your ability to take full advantage of the services offered by the Website.

Your IP address and other online information

We do not collect your personal information when you only browse the Website. We may collect your personal information if you transmit personal information to us through the Website or by email. When you use our interactive web-based services we may use your IP address to verify that you are accessing the service from within Australia and for the purposes of identification and support.

Does the Website use cookies?

A “cookie” is a small file supplied by us and stored by the web browser software on your computer when you access the Website. An explanation of cookies can be found at the website of the Australian Information Commissioner at www.oaic.gov.au.

The Website uses a session cookie for maintaining contact with a user throughout a web browsing session. At the end of your session, you may choose to manually logoff and the cookie is immediately deleted. If you do not logoff at the end of your session, the Website will automatically log you off after about 20 minutes. This will ensure that no other person has access to information personalised for you.

If you wish to use the features of the Website that enable us to personalise the Website for you, you must use a browser which is enabled to accept cookies.

When you visit the Website we may collect certain information such as browser type, operating system and the website visited immediately before coming to the Website.

We analyse this non-identifiable website traffic data (including through the use of third party service providers) on an aggregated basis to improve Healthdirect Australia's services and for statistical purposes.

In order to access the video consultation services, you may be required to connect to an external web application that is not run or managed by us. We recommend that you read the privacy statement made available on that web application to understand how it uses cookies (for example, a cookie may be set in a user’s browser which applies across sessions to identify the installed video technology option).

The Website makes records of your visits and logs the following information for statistical purposes:

  • the user’s server address;
  • the user’s top level domain name;
  • the date and time of access to the Website;
  • pages accessed and documents downloaded;
  • the previous site visited; and
  • the type of browser software in use.

No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users (including users logging on using a pseudonym) or their browsing activities except, in the unlikely event of an investigation, where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect the internet service provider’s log files.

The Website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google Inc. (Google). Google Analytics uses cookies to help analyse how users use the Website. Google Analytics anonymously tracks how users interact with the Website, including where they came from, what they did on the Website and whether they completed any transactions on the Website.

The information generated by the cookie about your use of the Website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of compiling reports on the website activity and providing other services relating to the Website and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of the Website. By using the Website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Third party websites

The Website has links to other websites not controlled or owned by us. We are not responsible for these sites or any consequence of your use of those sites. We recommend that you review the privacy statements of those external websites so that you can understand their privacy practices. We are not responsible for the privacy statements or practices of external websites.

PART D – QUERIES, CONCERNS AND FURTHER INFORMATION

How do we store and maintain your personal information?

Healthdirect Australia records all interactive consultations in a database.

We have processes in place to ensure that records of your personal information remain accurate, complete and up to date, including by verifying the information with you each time you use the Services, and from other sources.

Subject to the following, Healthdirect Australia keeps records for up to 25 years. However, if Healthdirect Australia no longer requires your personal information for any purpose for which it was collected (and Healthdirect Australia is not required by law to retain the information), Healthdirect Australia will delete, destroy or de-identify the information.

If you learn that personal information we hold about you is inaccurate, incomplete or not up to date, please contact us so that we can promptly update our records.

How can you access and correct your personal information?

You may ask to access and/or correct your personal information by contacting us.

We may be unable to give you a copy of your personal information if:

  • it was provided anonymously;
  • if the information contains details about other people; or
  • if it would be unsafe to provide the personal information because it may lead to harm being done to another person.

If we refuse to provide you with access to your personal information or to update your record in the way you request, we will provide you with written reasons.

If we refuse to correct or update your information, you may request that we make a note on your record that you are of the opinion that the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, irrelevant or misleading, as the case may be.

We will not charge you for lodging a request for a copy of your personal information but we may ask you to pay a reasonable fee for the work involved in providing you with this information and for associated costs such as photocopying. We will notify you of any likely costs before we process your request.

What if you have a complaint?

If you have a privacy complaint or concern, especially if you think your privacy has been adversely affected or you wish to complain about our refusal to update or grant access to our records of your personal information, you should contact us via the details below. If you remain unhappy, you can lodge a privacy complaint with the Australian Information Commissioner. See www.oaic.gov.au for how to make a complaint.

This Privacy Policy may be updated

We may update this Privacy Policy from time to time. To see the most current Privacy Policy, please look at the Website or contact us directly.

How can you contact us?

Email: privacy@healthdirect.org.au

Phone: (02) 9263 9000

Facsimile: (02) 9283 9180

Postal address:
Privacy Officer
Healthdirect Australia
PO Box A835
Sydney South NSW 1235
Australia

Last reviewed: 30 April, 2017.