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What is health information?

Health information is information collected by health service providers in the course of providing you with a health service, including any activity intended to assess, record, maintain or improve your health. Typically the information will be about your:

  • physical, mental and psychological health, including any disabilities
  • past and present symptoms and diagnoses
  • past and present treatments
  • pathology and Xray results
  • medications
  • admissions and discharges from hospitals and day surgery centres
  • donation of body parts
  • genetic makeup, including any predictions about your or your descendants future health.

It also includes health information collected while:

  • providing palliative care
  • providing disability and rehabilitation services
  • applying for health concessions and benefits
  • applying for superannuation and general, life and travel insurance
  • registering for weight loss and fitness programs.

It also includes any personal information, such as your:

  • name
  • address
  • age
  • occupation
  • financial status, including your eligibility for concessions or benefits
  • family information, including who you live with
  • Medicare number
  • racial or ethnic origin
  • political, philosophical or religious beliefs or affiliations
  • membership of any political, professional or trade organisation or        union
  • sexual preferences and practices
  • criminal record.

All your health information is protected, regardless of the way it has been obtained or stored. Thus, any information obtained from personal consultations, telephone conversations, photographs, voice mail and videos is protected. Similarly, any information stored in paper files, computer files, photographic films and computer databases is also protected.

Next Section: Who must comply with the privacy principles?