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Confidentiality: take care with your patient’s privacy

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Luke Arundel
National Professional Services Manager 

 

Patient confidentiality is all about optometrists’ ethical and legal responsibilities as health service providers. To add to the complexity, new privacy risks have emerged with the use of social media.

Breaching patient confidentiality can have implications for future employment prospects, relationships and reputation—yours and your patient’s.

There is also the question of whom can have access to health records, and when.

You need to consider moral responsibility, common law and more recently, statutory law. Your ethical and statutory responsibilities are covered by the Optometry Board of Australia National Law Act, and a Code of Conduct in which there is a special ‘confidentiality and privacy’ section. Your legal responsibilities come under the Privacy Act 1988, which provides for the protection of an individual’s personal information.

There is a lot to keep in mind. This information on Privacy and Health Records will help you to understand the implications of privacy in optometric care.

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