From December 21 2001, the new federal privacy laws apply to all health care providers in Australia, including optical dispensers. These laws control the collection, storage and use of information about clients. Although the new laws will not cause much change in the way your optical dispenser handles confidential information about you, they do give you some new rights in relation to this information.
Personal information must be collected only if it is necessary for your care. Almost all of the information your optical dispenser will gather about you relates directly to your eyes and vision. You do not have to provide any of this information but if your optical dispenser is not aware of some of this information, it may result in you receiving a lower standard of care.
NPP2 Use and disclosure:
Information should be used or disclosed only for the purpose for which it was collected. Your optical dispenser cannot release your information without your permission, except when he or she is legally required to do so. Your optical dispenser can also use the information to communicate with you.
NPP3 Data quality:
Your optical dispenser must take reasonable steps to ensure that the information he or she holds is accurate, complete and up to date.
NPP4 Data security:
Your optical dispenser must take reasonable steps to protect the information he or she holds from misuse, loss or unauthorised access.
Your optical dispenser must have a policy document outlining how he or she handles information about clients and the document must be available on request.
NPP6 Access and correction:
Your optical dispenser must give you access to personal information he or she holds about you, on request and you are able to correct any errors or omissions in that information.
Your optical dispenser must not adopt, use or disclose any identifier that has been assigned to you by a government agency.
Your optical dispenser must allow you to interact with him or her anonymously whenever it is lawful and practical to do so.
NPP9 Transborder data flows:
Your optical dispenser can transfer personal information only to someone in another country if the laws in that country give as much protection as Australian laws.
NPP10 Sensitive information:
Your optical dispenser can collect ‘sensitive’ information only if you have consented, it is required by law or in other specified circumstances, including when it is required to provide a health service.