Insurer, Lawyer and Employer Access to Medical Records
The confidentiality and protection of privacy of personal and medical information is of the utmost importance. While this practice supports the sharing of relevant medical information with other parties in some circumstances , this can only be done with the informed written consent of the individual involved.
Where this practice holds treatment records the preference is to provide a confidential report to a requesting lawyer, employer or insurer addressing specific queries about a patient’s medical history or clinical findings, where there is a valid reason for providing that information. Such a report request should be accompanied by a request-specific consent signed by the patient that demonstrates that they understand the reasons and agree to provision of the report. The cost of the report will be borne by the requesting party, based on the amount of professional time involved in preparation of the report.
This practice will not normally agree to provide full copies of clinical files relating to patient treatment held at this practice to a lawyer, insurer or employer, unless required by a formal legal process. The practice will formally object to release of confidential information if the patient does not provide their consent and there is concern about potential harm from that release.
In exceptional circumstances where the provision of file excerpts or a formal report is inadequate, the patient directly requests release of their complete file and demonstrates understanding of the implications, a practice director can authorise provision of a full file copy to the requesting party.
Medical records held at this practice that relate to independent medical assessments (including fitness for work assessments commissioned by an employer) are not normally available to other parties. If those records are required the consent of both the person to whom the medical information relates and the organisation that requested the independent medical assessment is required for release, unless a mandatory legal process applies.
The cost of provision of a file copy will be borne by the requesting party, based on the amount of professional time involved in reviewing the file, communication with the requesting party and the costs of providing the file copy.
Any enquiries, concerns or complaints about this practice’s procedures should be raised with Dr Sharman as the responsible practice director. If a complaint is unresolved the matter should be referred to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) or the relevant Court or Tribunal for determination.
Updated December 2021