Handbook for the management of health information in general practice

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General practice has a fundamental role in ensuring the privacy of patient health information. It is important general practices have up-to-date information on the regulatory framework for the management of health information.Addressing this need, and as part of its ongoing member focus, the RACGP has revised the Handbook for the management of health information in general practice (the Handbook). The revised Handbook aligns with current best practice, including commentary on the recent amendments to the Privacy Act1988(the Privacy Act). The Privacy Act understandably sits prominently in considerations of health information management. Significant amendments to the Privacy Act commenced in March 2014. While many obligations affecting the management of health information carry over, some amendments are significantly different from the former provisions, and place additional obligations on practices to safeguard personal information.However, privacy reflects only one aspect of the management of health information. Complementing this are important and complex notions of general patient consent, the existence of medical records, patient rights and information used in medical research.This publication broadly reviews the management of health information in the general practice setting. It examines the current privacy legislative framework that incorporates the new Australian Privacy Principles and the various Health Records Acts, including providing guidance and examples for compliance with each, and generally examines information management within a general practice setting. This publication also reviews the manner in which data is maintained.There are several other publications referenced within the Handbook. As the Handbook is designed to provide a broad overview, it defers to these publications for readers to obtain more detailed information. The RACGP publication Computer and Information Security Standards (Second Edition) (CISS) is one such publication that complements this Handbook. It is strongly recommended this Handbook is read in conjunction with each of the resources named in this guide. All RACGP privacy resources are available on the RACGP website at www.racgp.org.au/ehealth/privacyAs a matter of expediency, only a select subset of the total material has been examined. This subset is an assessment of the regulation most likely to affect general practice. Individual advice should always be sought for a more comprehensive understanding of the framework in which information is regulated or for answers or insights to particular circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherRoyal Australia College of General Practioners
Number of pages47
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-86906-380-4
ISBN (Print)978-0-86906-381-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • health information management
  • general practice
  • privacy
  • patient confidentiality


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