Managing Health Privacy in Pharmacy

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has produced a wide-ranging document to support health professionals, including direct reference to pharmacists, to guide them around issues of health privacy.

The Guide to Health Privacy outlines steps to embedding privacy in health practices, so as to comply with obligations under the Privacy Act 1988, including collection of patient data, comments, interactions or correspondence. 

In some cases, there may be video footage that could identify patients recorded on in-store CCTV. “Health service providers constantly handle health information about their patients and understand that health information is sensitive in nature and needs to be treated carefully,” the guide states.

“Handling this information appropriately underpins the trust in a provider-patient relationship,” it says. “The guide outlines the key practical steps that health service providers should take to embed good privacy in their practice. “In addition, the guide outlines how key privacy obligations apply to and operate in the healthcare context.”

Guidance around consent issues, identification, de-identification and disclosure are addressed. Consent, a significant element in the guide, needs to be adequately informed, voluntary, current, specific and within the capacity of the individual to understand.

The document is available

Source:, viewed Wed 23 Oct 2019