Primary healthcare news, information & resources

Patient data and its use by PHOs

Pinnacle firmly believes the appropriate use of health information is critical for improving the health of our enrolled population.

Concerns have been raised in the media about the way Auckland-based ProCare PHO use patient data and if privacy is being properly protected. 

The complaint has been made by four health IT companies - Medtech Global, HealthLink, myPractice and Best Practice Software NZ. Information in their complaint, which has ended up in the public domain, is factually incorrect. It should also be noted this complaint may have motivations beyond face value - Medtech, myPractice and Best Practice were all unsuccessful contenders in ProCare's PMS review, with Medtech and myPractice having held the majority market share of ProCare practices over the past 17 years.

While similar questions have not been asked of our network we want to assure you we have stringent processes in place regarding the collection and use of patient data. 

Informing patients about data use

Patient confidentiality is a foundation of medical practice. 

Patients should understand from the enrolment form that identifiable information is shared with their PHO for the purposes stated. 

If a patient does not agree to have any of their information collected, funding cannot be directed to the patient's general practice to deliver subsidised healthcare for that individual.  

This means that that person would not qualify for any public subsidies for GP visits, prescriptions or laboratory tests.

We have strict procedures to ensure individual patient privacy is protected. 

All practices that use our enrolment form can rest assured our form meets the requirements of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 for collection, storage and sharing of health information.

There is a requirement to let patients know what is happening to their health information. As some patients may not have signed an enrolment form recently we recommend practices clearly display notices about the collection of information and a general statement on how it is shared and for what purpose. See the A4 poster linked below or please speak to your practice support person if you feel you require more signage for these purposes.

Why Pinnacle collects data

  1. It is a condition of our Primary Health Organisation (PHO) Services Agreement with the Ministry of Health, and it enables us to obtain subsidised funding for patients.
  2. To improve healthcare provision and planning. Data allows us to inform general practices about the health of the enrolled population, which helps to ensure the right services are delivered to patients.

Our accreditation 

As part of an application to the Ministry of Health to access national collections data on practices behalf Pinnacle has had an independent due diligence gap analysis of our information security processes. This security audit and due diligence resulted in Pinnacle being granted a deed based on our rigorous data security processes and management. We are one of only two PHOs in New Zealand with this accreditation.

For more information

Should you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your practice support person.

Enrolment information for patients PDF 731.45 kB Patient data use poster PDF 3.9 MB

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