Collection of 'family medical history' under the Health Records Regulations 2002
Authority to collect family medical history
HPP 1 of the Health Records Act (the Act) specifies the circumstances in which a public or private sector organisation may collect identifying health information. This principle sets out a number of the grounds for the collection of health information for the purposes of providing health services. HPP 1 also allows regulations to be made to specify additional grounds
It is an accepted part of some health services delivery, especially medical practice, that a health service provider will prepare a family medical history or social medical history from information provided by the person seeking health services, to assist in diagnosing and treating that person or to provide him or her with other health, disability or aged care services. This history will ordinarily be prepared without the consent of the relatives or other third parties concerned, as it will not be practicable to obtain their consent.
Regulation 8 of the Health Records Regulations 2002 (the regulations) therefore supplements HPP 1 by allowing a health service provider to request and record health information about a third party, provided that:
Organisations should refer to regulation 8 for details of this ground of collection. The regulations are available from www.legislation.vic.gov.au.
The terms "immediate family member" and "parent" are relevant to this regulation, and are defined in section 3 of the Act as follows:
Regulation 8 also provides that a health service provider who collects health information under this provision is not obliged to inform the third party to whom the information relates about the collection.
Further information is also available from the Office of the Health Services Commissioner at http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/ . The Commissioner's office can be contacted on (03) 8601 5200 or toll free on 1800 136 066.
The regulations are available from http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/
Last updated: 25 October, 2011
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