As of 12th March 2014 changes to the way personal information is handled in Australia has commenced via changes to the Privacy Act 1988. The Privacy Act now includes a set of 13 privacy principles that regulate the handling of personal (and sensitive or health) information by Australian Government agencies and some private sector organisations, including health service providers such as optometrists. These principles are called the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and they replace the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) that applied previously.

One change has been the mandatory requirement that organisation must maintain an APP compliant privacy policy and take reasonable steps to implement new practices, procedures and systems that ensure compliance with the APPs. Optometry Australia has developed a privacy checklist that is available to guide members in understanding how to comply with the changes. As well we have a revised clinical guideline titled ‘accessing patient health records’.

Practices are encouraged to begin implementing changes to ensure compliance with the new APPs. The Office of the Australian Privacy commissioner has developed the following resources for businesses to aid in complying with the changes and will continue to release fact sheets and guides in coming months:

Any members with questions can contact the National Office or relevant State Division.

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