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Understanding Your Personal Health Information and Privacy Rights

What is personal health information?

Your personal health information may contain information about:

  • your mental health
  • your physical health
  • your health history
  • your personal history
  • your relevant family medical history

Why is my information being collected?

Your personal health information is primarily used to paint the picture of your overall health so that your care providers can give you better care.

Sharing your personal health information by mail, fax and electronically with other service providers is important. The information shared with the members of your community care team allows them to have the most up-to-date information about you so they can better and more safely meet your needs.

How is my personal health information being protected?

Your personal health information can only be used by authorized staff providing you with health care support and services.

Your care providers are required to have administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect their physical records and their electronic networks from misuse, alternation, copying, disclosure, destruction, monitoring and/or damage. These safeguards include security software and encryption protocols, firewalls, locks and other access controls, privacy impact assessments, privacy training for staff and students, and confidentiality agreements.

Privacy and security safeguards are constantly under review and are enhanced where necessary to ensure the highest level of protection.

What are my privacy rights?

  • You have the right to request a copy of your clinical file by contacting your health service provider.
  • You also have the right to request a correction or amendment to your personal health information, block parts of or your entire clinical file to designated recipients or log a complaint if you feel that your service provider has not addressed your privacy concern correctly.

Can my personal health information be shared with third parties that are not health care providers?

Your health care provider requires your express consent to share your personal health information with third parties.

You can request copies of parts of all of your health record for purposes other than healthcare, such as your lawyer, or an application for short or long term disability.

Yes - there are times at when your health care providers are required to share your personal health information without your express consent. If you are at risk of harm to self or others, we may need to share need-to-know information to keep you safe. Your health care providers are also obligated by law to respond to a subpoena and/or search warrant.

Anonymous demographic and statistical data may also be use for the purposes of program and funding evaluation.

When you receive services from any health care provider they are obligated as healthcare professionals to collect your health care information in order to provide you with the best care possible. Your Privacy rights information is available to you either through a pamphlet, on their website or explained to you in person. You have the opportunity to block your information to be released to both your Health Service Provider documentation system (usually an electronic client record) and/or access to it by other healthcare providers involved in the continuum of care for you. Your care providers will use the information in your assessment to provide you with the safe, quality care that better meets your needs.

You have the right to be informed of the positive and negative consequences of your consent to share or not to share your personal health information with health service providers involved in your care.