Vicki Williams (“your treating psychologist”) and Changes Psychology (the admin service “provider”) take your privacy seriously. This document describes the management of the information you disclose to your treating psychologist in relation to yourself or the person under 18 that you are bringing to therapy. Therapy addresses issues of a highly personal nature and it is important that you understand your rights with regard to your records and personal information collected.
- We work like a virtual clinic office, collecting and managing personal and medical information provided by you and your psychologist, which naturally includes sensitive health information.
- We collect, use and (where appropriate) share this information, which includes health information, in order to facilitate appointments with psychologists; manage payment, medicare and insurance claims; and manage records regarding your appointments. Handling of personal information involves storage and processing of some data overseas via offshore data centres.
Your treating psychologist will store: confidential casenotes and information that is not accessible by the provider’s admin team. Your information will be kept in a file that will be seen only by the treating psychologist and will be retained as a record of what happens during
sessions. As required by law, your file will be securely stored for 7 years (or if you are under 18 years old, your file must be kept
until you turn 25). After this time it will be destroyed in a confidential manner.
- Confidentiality – All information provided by you will remain strictly confidential and will not be released to any person outside Vicki Williams Psychology without your written permission, with the following exceptions:
- Should you have been referred to Vicki Williams Psychology by another health professional, it is policy to inform the referrer that you have been seen, what the main issues are and how we plan to proceed. At termination of treatment it is the policy to inform the referrer of the outcome of treatment. If you do not wish your referring agent to be contacted, please notify us of your objection and this will be recorded in your file and no contact will be made.
- Where there is considered to be a serious risk of harm to you or to another identifiable person, or harm to a child, notification to the relevant authorities will be made, as is required by law.
- If your records are subpoenaed by a court of law.
- When consulting colleagues, or in the course of supervision or professional training: Your identity will be concealed; or Your consent will be obtained, and prior notice will be given to the recipients of the information that they are to preserve your privacy.
- Adolescent clients are entitled to confidentiality. Where an issue would be beneficial for parents to be aware of, the adolescent’s permission will be sought to inform parents. Where an issue significantly affects an adolescent’s wellbeing, parents will be informed and the adolescent will be given an explanation of what will be communicated.
- Neither your treating Psychologist, or admin provider, will provide information, reports or documentation for medico-legal or family court related purposes unless we required to by law, under a subpoena or by a court order.
- In line with the Privacy Act that came into effect in July 2001, Vicki Williams Psychology only collects personal information necessary to develop an understanding of your issues and for determining treatment. Any information you provide is voluntary, however, withholding requested information may result in a less accurate understanding of the problem and less effective treatment. The information collected is kept in a locked file at Vicki Williams Psychology, identified by a number, and kept for a period of seven years. The file cannot be removed by anyone, except where records are subpoenaed by law. At the end of seven years the file will be destroyed, but some de-identified diagnostic and treatment outcome information will be kept for research purposes. Psychometric data, however, is kept indefinitely. The file is the property of Vicki Williams Psychology, however, should you wish to view your file, and you and your psychologist believe this to be in your best interest, it can be arranged. At such time, should you believe that any personal information is inaccurate, you can request that it be amended and your amendments added to the file.
- Access to your or a child’s information – You may access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in the Australian Privacy Principles or clause 4 above. You must provide a written request to access your information and your request will be processed within 21 days and an hourly fee is payable to collate and provide this information to you. If the information request is in relation to a person under 18, and you are not the person who initiated and paid for their therapy sessions, we would also require confirmation from the parent or guardian that initiated their treatment before releasing the information to ensure we meet the requirements of the National Privacy Policies.
- As part of professional practice as a psychologist, Vicki sometimes receives supervision from a senior clinician, which involves discussing treatment plans and information about current clients to improve their clinical practice. In this context, some aspects of your treatment may be discussed. However this will be done in confidentially and your personal identity is not disclosed.