Understanding your Personal Health Information and Privacy Rights
What is personal health information?
Your personal health information may contain information about your:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Physical and mental health history
- Personal history and/or
- Relevant family medical history.
Why is your information being collected?
Your personal health information is primarily used to create the picture of your overall health so that your healthcare providers can give you better and seamless care.
Once your personal health information is collected, it is shared with service providers by mail, fax and/or electronically. This step is important as it allows them to have the most up-to-date information about you, so they can better and more safely meet your needs.
How is your personal health information being protected?
Your personal health information can only be used by authorized staff providing you with services.
Your service providers are required to have administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect physical and electronic records 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 and when necessary to ensure the highest level of protection.
What are your privacy rights?
You have the right to request a copy of your service file by contacting your service care 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 your personal health information be shared with third parties that are not health care providers?
Your health care provider requires your expressed consent to share your personal health information with third parties.
You can request copies of parts or all your health record for purposes other than healthcare, such as your lawyer, or an application for short or long-term disability.
Are there times when your personal health information can be shared without your consent?
Yes – there are times when your health care providers are required to share your personal health information without your expressed consent. For example, if you are at risk of harm to self or others, it may become necessary 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 used for the purposes of program and funding evaluation.
Why is your information shared in a centralized electronic system?
Having your health information in an electronic system allows your authorized care providers to quickly and securely access your health history, no matter where you receive care.
Help Ahead uses a centralized point of access (CPA) electronic system, which is used to share your information with health service providers who need to review it to provide services to you. If you have concerns regarding the privacy and security of your personal health information, you may contact your health service provider’s Privacy Officer. If you wish to consent or withhold your consent to the sharing of your assessments in the electronic sharing system you may contact the CPA Call Centre at 1-866-585-6486.
What does it mean when you give your consent to share your personal health information within your circle of care?
When you give your consent, your intake and assessments record will be uploaded onto a secure and centralized electronic system. Your healthcare providers will use the information to provide you with the safe, quality service 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 service providers involved in your care.