Privacy of personal health information for clinicians and managers


A great deal of the information that clinicians deal with is personal or personal health information. In Australia, the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information is regulated by various acts of parliament.

It is difficult to imagine any clinician not being in a position to regularly collect, use, store and, where necessary, disclose personal health information.

The standard required of people who collect, use, store, and disclose personal health information is higher than the standard applied to the management of other personal information.

This course discusses the legal and ethical framework that protects the personal health information of individuals. It discusses how the principles of privacy are applied and the exceptions that apply to the requirement to obtain consent from the consumer prior to disclosure. It then provides guidance on the actions that can be taken when a breach occurs.

This course is relevant to all clinicians and any other person providing direct client care. It is also applicable to all managers who play a role in health service management and clinical governance.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the duty to protect the personal health information of consumers.
  • Summarise the laws that apply in your jurisdiction.
  • Summarise the Australian Privacy Principles.
  • Understand the legal principle of reasonable expectation as it applies to personal health information.
  • Understand the ethical duty to maintain patient privacy.
  • Describe when exceptions to the duty to maintain confidential information apply.
  • Know what action to take when a breach occurs.

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