Managing your Personal Information

A hard-copy of this document has been provided to you marked "FORM 1B" during your intake session. I have placed a copy of this online here for your convenience.

Collection and use / management of your personal information

This document describes the privacy policy of Avant Code for the management of clients’ personal information. The psychological service provided is bound by the legal requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

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Client information

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Client files are held in a secure filing cabinet which is accessible only to authorised employees. The information on each file includes personal information such as name, address, contact phone numbers, medical history, and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychological service. Client information may also be held online in a secure encrypted network for billing / appointment purposes that is accessible only by authorised employees through a secure pass-protected interface.

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How clients’ personal information is collected

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A client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways during psychological consultation with Avant Code, including when the client provides information directly to our psychologists using hardcopy forms, correspondence via email, when the client interacts directly with Avant Code, employees such as the receptionist, and when other health practitioners provide personal information to Avant Code, via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.

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Consequence of not providing personal information

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If the client does not wish for their personal information to be collected in a way anticipated by this Privacy Policy, Avant Code may not be in a position to provide the psychological service to the client. Clients may request to be anonymous or to use a pseudonym, unless it is impracticable for Avant Code to deal with the client or if Avant Code is required or authorised by law to deal with identified individuals. In most cases it will not be possible for the client to be anonymous or to use a pseudonym, however if Avant Code agrees to the client being anonymous or using a pseudonym, the client must pay consultation fees at the time of the appointment.

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Purpose of holding personal information

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A client’s personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological services, which includes assessing, diagnosing and treating a client’s presenting issue. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.

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Disclosure of personal information

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Clients’ personal information will remain confidential except when:

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It is subpoenaed by a court; or
Failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of the psychologist place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g., a GP or a lawyer; or
discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
disclose the information in another way; or
you would reasonably expect your personal information to be disclosed to another professional or agency (e.g. your GP) and disclosure of your personal information to that third party is for a purpose which is directly related to the primary purpose for which your personal information was collected; or
disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

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A client’s personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients, unless the client consents or such disclosure is otherwise required by law. Clients’ personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.

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Requests for access and correction to client information

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At any stage clients may request to see and correct the personal information about them kept on file. The psychologist may discuss the contents with them and/or give them a copy, subject to the exceptions in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). If satisfied that personal information is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete, reasonable steps will be taken in the circumstances to ensure that this information is corrected. All requests by clients for access to or correction of personal information held about them should be lodged with the consulting psychologist. These requests will be responded to in writing within 14 Days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes.

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Concerns

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If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform Avant Code. Upon request, they can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles, which outline their rights and how their personal information should be handled. Ultimately, if clients wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, disclosure of, or access to, their personal information, they may do so with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by phone on 1300 363 992, online at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint or by post to:

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Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001.

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