The Purpose of Collecting and Holding Client Information
Psychologists are bound by the AHPRA Psychology Board of Australia (PBA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of Ethics to maintain accurate and detailed documentation of client sessions and contact. A Client’s personal information is collected and used for the purpose of providing psychological services which include assessing, diagnosing, and treating a Client’s presenting issue or preparing psychological reports. As part of the PBA and APS requirements, the personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions and to enable the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.
Type of Client Information Collected
- In order to provide high quality psychological services VUP will collect the following information from Clients or referrers. As a base, the following information will likely be collected:
- Your name, address and date of birth.
- Your contact details.
- Current and past medical information.
- Your family medical history to the extent that it may inform current services.
- Your educational and occupational history.
- Your personal psychological history.
- Your current psychological symptomatology and experiences.
- Your history and current substance use.
- Legal or offending history.
VUP may also obtain the following information:
- Responses and results from psychological tests and questionnaires.
- Responses and results reasonably obtained as part of a neuropsychological assessment.
- Information pertaining to your response to treatment.
All of the above material is used to inform accurate assessment, diagnosis and treatment plans for VUP Clients. Not having this information may increase the risk that the assessment, diagnosis and treatment plans subsequently arrived at or generated are sub-optimal.
How Client Information is Collected
A Client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways before, during or after psychological consultation with VUP including: when the Client provides information directly to VUP using hardcopy forms, correspondence via email, through VUP’s Website, or via VUP Marketing Emails; when the Client interacts directly with their psychologist and VUP employees such as the receptionist; when other health practitioners or third-party persons provide personal information to VUP via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.
How Client Information is Stored
Client records are kept in secure electronic storage and Client Management Software which is accessible by authorised employees and contractors of VUP. The Client Management Software used by VUP is also at times accessed by the Software provider support staff to assist with technical issues of the software. Client files may at times also be stored as hard copy within secure filing cabinets that are accessible only by authorised VUP employees and contractors.
Requests for Access and Collection of Client Information
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 (ct.). 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 VUP. These requests will be responded to in writing within 28 days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes.
Disclosure of Client Information
Your personal information will be stored for 7 years in the case of an adult, or until 18 years of age in the case of a child.
Client’s personal information will not be disclosed except when:
- It is subpoenaed by a court, or
- Failure to disclose the information about you would in the reasonable belief of VUP psychologists or staff 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, health provider or employer; or
- Information is requested by third party referrers such as Workcover and Insurance; and to comply with reporting requirements for Clients referred under Medicare.
- disclose the information in another way; or
- Disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
The Client’s personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
Contact by VUP
Vitality Unleashed Psychology would like to stay in contact with you by email in future to send you information and marketing communications about our products, services, as well as tip sheets, strategies or activities that we consider may be of interest to you. You may unsubscribe from receiving any marketing communication from us at any time. If you do not wish to receive marketing communications from us please contact us via the contact details provided on our Website, or opt-out through the ‘Unsubscribe’ link provided at the bottom of our marketing emails.
Psychologists Duty of Care
All psychologists of VUP are guided by the Australian Psychological Society’s (APS’s) Code of Ethics (2007). Section A.4. of the Code relates to the appropriate collection of private information related to the provision of psychological services. Sections A.5. to A.7. of the Code relate to Confidentiality, the Release of Information to Clients, and the Collection of Client information from associated parties. Section B.2. of the Code relates to appropriate record-keeping. The APS Code of Ethics (2007) can be obtained from VUP, or from the APS Website (psychology.org.au). It is noted that under section A.5.2.(c) of the Code that psychologists disclose confidential information obtained in the course of their provision of psychological services, “if there is an immediate and specified risk of harm to an identifiable person or persons that can be averted only by disclosing information” (p.15).
Clients may also refer to the APS Charter for Clients of Psychologists, appended to this policy.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for the registration of psychologists throughout Australia. Through AHPRA, and under National Law, there are requirements for registered health practitioners to make mandatory notifications to prevent the public from being placed at risk of harm. Revised guidelines took effect from 17th March 2014.
Clients have a right to make a complaint about the handing of their personal information. Complaints can be made to VUP via email ([email protected]). We will endeavour to respond appropriately to reasonable complaints (i.e. not of a frivolous or vexation nature) within 30 days of the receipt of the email.
Other agencies to which Clients may bring complaints are as follows:
- The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (oaic.gov.au)
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (ahpra.gov.au)
- The Australian Psychological Society (psychology.org.au).