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The Health Records Act

Monash University is required to comply with the Health Records Act (Vic) 2001.

Objects of the Health Records Act

The objects of the Health Records Act are to:

  • require responsible handling of health information in the public and private sectors;
  • balance the public interest in protecting the privacy of health information with the public interest in the legitimate use of that information;
  • enhance the ability of individuals to be informed about their health care or disability services;
  • promote the provision of quality health services, disability services and aged care services.

Compliance with the Health Records Act

The Act took effect from the 1st March 2002, with individuals being able to lodge complaints with the Office of the Health Services Commissioner from 1st July 2002.

The Health Records Act applies to health, disability and aged care information handled by a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Examples of the types of information which Monash University collects, uses and discloses which would be covered by this legislation is sick leave information, maternity leave information, special consideration applications, deferment applications, Academic Progress Committee documents and any information held by Community Services. Some Faculties (eg Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Science) may also hold information which is covered by this legislation.

The Act contains eleven Health Privacy Principles (HPP's) which are the central part of the laws.

Relevant Definitions

The Health Records Act applies to health information:

Health Information: information or opinion about the physical, mental or psychological health at any time of an individual, a disability of an individual, an individual's expressed wishes about future provision of health services to him or her or a health service provided or to be provided to an individual that is also personal information. It also includes other personal information collected to provide a health service (eg name, address) and information about donation of body parts, organs or body substances and genetic information.