Protecting your privacy
At Westmead Fertility Centre, we understand the personal and sensitive nature of fertility treatment. We respect the privacy of individuals and are committed to complying with all applicable privacy laws including the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), which protect your personal information (and health information). This document sets out our policy for handling your personal information.
‘Personal Information’ is information that identifies a person or from which a person can reasonably be identified. In this policy, ‘we’ and ‘us’ refers to Westmead Fertility Centre and ‘you’ refers to any individual about whom we collect information.
- What information do we collect?
- How do we collect your personal information?
- How do we hold and protect your personal information?
- Why do we collect your personal information?
- How do we use and disclose your personal information?
- Will your personal information be sent overseas?
- How can you access or correct personal information?
- What should you do if you have a complaint about the handling of your personal information?
- Contacting Westmead Fertility Centre
What information do we collect?
When you become a patient of Westmead Fertility Centre, we create a record containing your personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, contact details, GP contact details, your medical history and test results, family medical history, investigations, medical images, treatment history and advice, and other information required for your fertility treatment.
Information we collect about you is generally considered ‘sensitive information’ (specifically ‘health information’) within the meaning of privacy laws.
Depending on your financial arrangements, we may also collect information about your Medicare eligibility (including your Medicare number), any private health insurance coverage you may have and any eligibility for benefits or compensation from another source.
Where you are undergoing fertility treatment with a partner, information about you and your partner is recorded in a joint patient casefile on our Westmead Fertility Centre database and either partner may (subject to any relevant exemptions under privacy laws) have access to this casefile.
Generally, every time you have contact with Westmead Fertility Centre new information is added to your record. Please let our staff know if your details have changed since your last visit.
We may collect information about individuals who are not patients of Westmead Fertility Centre. This includes individuals making enquiries about our services, such as our Patient Information Seminars, events, via our website or social media platforms, or the emergency contact details and family history collected from a patient about another individual.
We may also collect personal information about individuals who we deal with on a commercial basis such as suppliers, contractors and individuals in organisations to which we provide goods and services or from which we acquire goods and services. We may collect personal information including name, position, contact details, licence or registration number, ABN, bank details and other information relevant to the capacity in which you are dealing with us. We generally collect this information to enable us to contact and deal with you and to enable us to fulfill any obligation or undertaking relevant to your relationship with us.
We may collect personal information about health practitioners who interact with us (such as referring doctors or other healthcare practitioners involved in the care of our patients). This is typically information such as name, contact details, professional details and information regarding the interactions with Westmead Fertility Centre. This information is collected for the purpose of patient care and the management and operation of Westmead Fertility Centre.
We may collect personal information when we are recruiting staff. Generally speaking, we will collect personal information that you supply to us as part of this process for the purpose of assessing applications and proposals. We will collect personal information about you such as your educational/academic history and work history. We will collect personal information about you from third parties, such as your referees, as part of our assessment of your suitability for a position. Similarly, we may confirm details about your past positions with previous employers (for example to confirm your duration of employment).
You may have the option of not identifying yourself, or using a pseudonym, when dealing with us (for example, when making an enquiry). However, if you become a patient it is unlikely you will be able to deal with us anonymously on an ongoing basis. We regret that due to the need to identify the specimens with which we work and the legal requirements that apply to fertility treatment and the provision of health services, we are unable to provide your treatment without clearly knowing your identity.
When you visit the Westmead Fertility Centre website, our Internet Service Provider will record and log your IP address, the date and time of your visit, the pages viewed and any information downloaded. You cannot be personally identified from this information, which is used for the purpose of site analysis and to help us offer an improved online service.
How do we collect your personal information?
We will, where possible, collect personal information about you directly from you (for example, when we interact with you in person, when you complete forms or paperwork we give you, by email, over the phone, via text message, multimedia message, or when you interact with us via our website or on our social media platforms). In some cases, it may be necessary to collect your personal information from another person such as your referring doctor, other healthcare practitioners involved in your care, Medicare, your private health insurer, your partner, relatives and next-of-kin.
How do we hold and protect your personal information?
At Westmead Fertility Centre, we generally collect and hold your personal information in electronic records and systems. We take reasonable steps to ensure the protection of your personal information from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Where your information is collected in paper-based documents it is converted to a secure electronic form and the paper-based documents securely stored or destroyed.
Why do we collect your personal information?
We collect personal information about patients in order to provide safe and effective fertility treatment services. We also collect personal information from individuals and organisations to administer and manage the services we provide. Further information about the way we use and disclose your personal information is set out in the next section.
Providing accurate and complete information is important for the safety, quality and effectiveness of the fertility treatments we provide. If you do not provide accurate and complete information, or you withhold information, it may impact upon our ability to provide you with safe and effective services. If you have any concerns about personal information we have asked you to provide, please raise those concerns with us.
How do we use and disclose your personal information?
We may also use your personal information to contact you about, or during, your fertility treatment. This contact may include emails, phone, text messages or multimedia messages. Personal information may be communicated in the course of such contact. If you do not wish to be contacted by a particular method, please let our staff know.
Your doctor and other health service providers involved in your care
Your personal information will generally be available to other health professionals and health services providers who are involved in your care. For example:
- personal information held about you by Westmead Fertility Centre about your treatment and results may be disclosed to your treating specialist, at their request, to facilitate your treatment and for inclusion in the record held by your specialist at their external consulting rooms;
- on occasion, we may send a letter to your local doctor (ie. General Practitioner or other Specialist) following a visit to Westmead Fertility Centre. Sometimes your local doctor will contact us for additional information about your treatment. In this situation, we will only release information to your local doctor as specified on your admission or consent form;
- if you are admitted to another health service (for example, referrals to Westmead Hospital for oocyte collection) as part of your fertility treatment, we will send a summary of information about your condition and treatment to enable the receiving health service to provide you with safe and effective care;
- we may disclose your personal information to independent health service providers who are contracted to provide health care services (for example, a diagnostic imaging provider, pathology provider or pharmacist); or
- another health service or doctor may contact us to obtain information about you, so that they can treat you safely and effectively. Unless there is an emergency, we will release personal health information about you only with your written consent after confirmation of the identity of the person requesting your health information.
Where we outsource any of our services or engage contractors to perform services for us or on our behalf, we require them to comply with the same privacy laws that apply to us. For example, we may disclose your personal information:
- to an independent organisation that conducts patient satisfaction surveys on our behalf;
- to third parties connected with marketing, events and promotional activities such as advertising, marketing or digital media agencies, mailing houses, and social media platforms however if you are our patient, we will only do so with prior consent;
- for external review by financial or quality auditors;
- to payment processors, data entry services, electronic network administrators and text/multimedia message service providers; or
- information technology professionals may have incidental access to personal information in the course of providing development, maintenance and support services for our information technology systems.
As part of the provision of fertility treatment and services in New South Wales there are a number of requirements we must meet. Your personal information may be used by us or disclosed to third parties to meet these requirements as follows:
- for confidential external review by a certification body for the purpose of accreditation by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee of the Fertility Society of Australia;
- for compilation of de-identified summaries of our data for assessment by the National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit at the University of New South Wales as part of the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database. This enables statistical analysis of fertility treatment outcomes. Any information that personally identifies you has been removed from this data by us before it is provided for inclusion in the database;
- fully de-identified summaries of Westmead Fertility Centre data may be used for research including publication but any formal research projects will only be performed with your informed consent and will be subject to ethics committee approval; and
- where applicable under law, to the New South Wales Ministry of Health for:
- notification of disease to the Public Health Unit; or
- inclusion on the Assisted Reproductive Technology Central Register in respect of donated sperm, eggs or embryos and the children conceived through these donations.
Students studying at the Sydney Medical School of The University of Sydney or participating in clinical placements may be present with your treating healthcare practitioner during clinical consultations at Westmead Fertility Centre. Those students may have access to your personal information for research, teaching or training purposes.
We may use or disclose your personal information for purposes required for the administration, management and operation of Westmead Fertility Centre, including:
- administering billing (including administration of Medicare benefits, private health insurance benefits and other third-party payment arrangements) and debt recovery;
- safety and quality assurance and improvement activities;
- accreditation activities;
- training of staff and health care workers;
- risk management and management of legal liabilities and claims (for example, liaising with our insurers and legal representatives);
- responding to complaints or inquiries regarding health services provided by us;
- to fulfill social media platform rules; and
- responding to subpoenas or other legal orders and obligations, including mandatory reporting of specific diseases.
If you are a patient, we will only use or disclose your personal information for direct marketing purposes with your consent. If you do provide your consent to receive direct marketing communications, you can opt-out at any time by contacting us using the contact details below.
For other individuals, we may use or disclose your personal information for the purpose of informing you about our services, events, latest news or other opportunities or information that may interest you. If you do not want to receive direct marketing communications, you can opt-out at any time by contacting us using the contact details below.
Will your personal information be sent overseas?
We do not typically disclose personal information to overseas recipients.
In very limited circumstances, some samples that require further or specialised analysis may be sent to the overseas laboratory of an external genetic diagnostics provider located in the United Arab Emirates. You will be informed if further testing is required.
We will only disclose your personal information where we have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach Australian privacy laws or otherwise ensure that the disclosure complies with Australian privacy laws.
How can you access or correct personal information?
You may request access to personal information we hold about you. To request access to your personal information, please contact Westmead Fertility Centre to submit an access request.
If you wish to view your joint casefile, simply ask one of our staff and we will be pleased to assist. In general, we prefer to release test results to the person to whom the result pertains. However, we will inform partners of results where this is requested. If you do not wish your partner to have access to your personal information, please advise us.
We endeavour to ensure that your data is accurate, up-to-date and complete. If you consider any personal information we hold about you is not accurate, you may also request correction of that information. Please note that it is generally not possible to make changes to clinical information noted in your record. In that situation, you may be entitled to request that we associate a statement with your records.
What should you do if you have a complaint about the handling of your personal information?
We will consider and respond to your complaint to determine whether there are any simple or immediate steps we can take to resolve the issue. We will generally respond to you within 2 weeks and advise you of any measure, investigations or reviews we are undertaking in response. If your complaint requires further investigations, we will endeavour to complete our investigation promptly, but may require time to obtain additional information, including from you. In most cases we will investigate and respond to your complaint within 30 days. If your complaint is complex and we require additional time to investigate, we will keep you informed.
If you are not satisfied with our response to a complaint, or you consider that we may have breached privacy laws, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or the New South Wales Information and Privacy Commission.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be contacted by telephone on 1300 363 992. Full contact details for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be found online at www.oaic.gov.au. The New South Wales Information and Privacy Commission on can be contacted on 1800 472 679 or online at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.
Contacting Westmead Fertility Centre
Westmead Fertility Centre is the trading name of Westmead IVF Pty Ltd ABN 81 176 167 928. Westmead Fertility Centre is a controlled entity of the University of Sydney.
The contact details for Westmead Fertility Centre are:
Level 2, G Block
Westmead NSW 2145
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +61 2 8890 7484