PURPOSE AND SCOPE
Cottage Country Family Health Team (CCFHT) is dedicated to quality patient care and improving the health status of our communities. A patient’s right to privacy is balanced with CCFHT’s obligation to provide effective health care treatment. This policy specifies CCFHT’s information practices related to the protection of the privacy and confidentiality of the personal health information of all our patients that is in our possession and control.
This policy applies to CCFHT’s employees: a team of interdisciplinary healthcare providers including Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, Mental Health Therapists, a Pharmacist, a Dietitian, and their administrative support staff.
CCFHT maintains privacy in compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) 2004, which establishes rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information about individuals that protects the confidentiality of that information and the privacy of individuals with respect to that information while facilitating the effective provision of health care.
Protecting the privacy and the confidentiality of patient personal health information (PHI) is important to CCFHT. This policy reflects CCFHT’s compliance with fair information practices, applicable laws and standards of practice.
CCHFT is responsible for the PHI under its control and will, in good faith, endeavour to ensure that all PHI be maintained private, confidential and secure.
The information practices adopted by CCFHT to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the information collected, used, or disclosed are described below. These practices are closely interrelated and should be interpreted as such.
CCFHT is responsible for any personal health information in its possession. A privacy officer is appointed to oversee the compliance to this policy, related procedures and legislation.
2. Identifying Purposes:
Personal health information related to patients is collected, used, disclosed and retained for the purposes of:
- Providing patient care or assisting with the provision of patient care.
- Administration of the health care system.
- Research, teaching, statistics, and fundraising as permitted by law.
- To meet legal and regulatory requirements.
The knowledge and consent of the individual is required for the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information. CCFHT will inform its patients and make reasonable effort, through reasonable means (i.e. publication on the website, signage, information brochures etc.), of the purposes for which CCFHT will be collecting, using or disclosing their personal health information, and patient’s and client’s privacy right with regards to their personal health information in CCFHT’s possession. Patients’ implied consent will be assumed for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal health information for the purpose communicated to the patients. Express consent will be obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal health information for any purposes other than those communicated, unless the collection, use and disclosure of the personal health information without consent is permitted by law.
4. Limiting Collection:
CCFHT will limit the amount and the type of personal health information collected to that which is necessary to fulfil the purposes identified. All information will be collected by fair, lawful and indiscriminate means.
5. Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention:
Personal health information will not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those which it was collected, except with the consent from the individual or as required by law. Personal health information will be retained only for as long as is necessary for the fulfilment of those purposes or as required by law (i.e. legislative requirements with respect to retention periods of personal health information).
CCFHT will take reasonable steps to ensure that personal health information is accurate, complete and relevant as possible and as is necessary for the purpose for which it is intended, to minimize the possibility that inappropriate information may be used for a specified purpose.
7. Safeguards – Protecting Patient Information:
CCFHT has security safeguards in place to protect personal health information against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification regardless of the format in which it is held. Care will be used in the disposal or destruction of personal information, to prevent unauthorized persons gaining access to the information.
CCFHT will make available to its patients, information regarding the policies and practices relating to the management of personal health information in a format that is generally understandable.
9. Access and Correction:
Upon request, a patient or client will be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of personal information and will be granted access to that information, unless the Nurse Practitioner and/or the privacy officer deems that access to that information could be harmful to the patient or a third party.
Patients will be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.
The patient and client can inquire and complain about CCFHT’s privacy practices. The privacy officer will respond to the inquiries and investigate all complaints. If a complaint is found to be justified, appropriate measures will be taken, including amending policies and practices if necessary.
Privacy Officer: James Hadley