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Staff are mindful that even if patients have provided electronic contact details, they may not be proficient in communicating via electronic means and patient consent should be obtained before using electronic communication.
Patients are able to obtain advice,  information related to their care or appointment reminders by electronic means, where the doctor determines that a face-to-face consultation is unnecessary. Electronic communication includes email, fax, and SMS.
Practice staff and doctors will determine how they communicate electronically with patients, both receiving and sending messages.  All significant electronic contact with patients is recorded in the patient health records.
Patients are informed of any costs incurred prior to electronic consultations.
Practice staff and doctors should be aware of alternative modes of communication used by the disabled.
Patients are advised in the Practice Information sheet that they can request for our written policy on receiving and returning electronic communication.
Communication with  patients  via  electronic  means  (e.g.  email and  fax)  is conducted   with appropriate regard to  privacy  Laws  relating  to  health  information  and  confidentiality  of  the patient’s health information.
Staff  and  Patients  using  email/SMS  or  other  forms  of  electronic  messaging  should  be  aware  that it is  not  possible  to  guarantee  that  electronic  communications  will  be  private. All  personal  health information  or  sensitive  information  sent  by  email  must  be  securely  encrypted.
When  an  email  message  is  sent  or  received  in  the  course  of  a  person's  duties, that  message  is  a business  communication  and therefore  constitutes  an  official  record.
Internal or external parties, including patients may send  electronic  messages.  Messages from patients or those of clinical significance require a  response  to  confirm  receipt  and  should  be documented  in  the  patient  medial  record  if  appropriate.  
Employees should be aware that electronic communications could,  depending  on  the  technology, be  forwarded,  intercepted,  printed  and  stored  by  others.    Electronic mail  is  the  equivalent  of  a post  card.
Staff members have full  accountability  for  emails  sent  in  their  name  or  held  in  their mailbox  and are  expected  to  utilise  this  communication  tool  in  an  acceptable  manner.  

This includes (but is not limited to): 
   • limiting the exchange of personal emails
   • refraining from responding to unsolicited or unwanted emails  
   • deleting hoaxes or chain emails
   • email attachments from unknown senders should not be opened
   • virus checking all email attachments 
   • maintaining appropriate language within e-communications
   • ensuring any personal opinions are clearly indicated as such
   • confidential information (e.g., patient information) must be encrypted. 
The Practice reserves the right to check individual email as a precaution to fraud, viruses, workplace harassment or breaches of confidence by employees.  Inappropriate use of the Email facility will be fully investigated and may be grounds for dismissal. 
The practice uses an email disclaimer notice on outgoing emails that are affiliated with the practice.

If you are not the intended recipient of this communication, please delete and destroy all copies and e-mail: immediately to advise the same.  If you are the intended recipient of this communication, you must not disclose, copy, distribute or modify this e-mail or any attachments without the authority of Family Doctors @ Tuggerah.  Any views expressed in this communication are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Family Doctors @ Tuggerah. Except as required at law, Family Doctors @ Tuggerah does not represent, warrant and/or guarantee that the integrity of this communication has been maintained nor that the communication is free of errors, virus, interception, or interference.  It is the responsibility of the recipient to virus check this e-mail and any attachments.

Communication Policy

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