We consider any type of healthcare information that can be linked to an identifiable person confidential.
Accordingly, all clinical information collected in support of the treatment you receive at Halton Healthcare will be disclosed only to authorized individuals who require this information to ensure that the best possible care is provided. Designated individuals who reside within a “circle of care” and require access to your clinical information to deliver treatment may include:
- Referring, attending or consulting physicians
- Nurses and allied health professionals (i.e. dieticians, physiotherapists, discharge planners)
- Technologists in diagnostic departments (i.e. laboratory, radiology, cardiology)
- Clerical/administrative staff responsible for capturing, coding, filing, retrieving and otherwise managing medical records
Halton Healthcare uses a combination of physical, procedural and technology-based safeguards which are reviewed regularly to ensure that your health information can be accessed only by authorized persons within this “circle of care”. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial, Milton District and Georgetown hospitals are “family practice” hospitals and, as such, your family physician is considered part of the “circle of care”. If you are receiving emergency or outpatient treatment at our hospitals, a copy of your treatment record and/or diagnostic test results will be forwarded to your family physician unless you request otherwise.
If you do not wish your family physician to be apprised of emergency or outpatient treatment you receive at Halton Healthcare, please notify the clerical staff at the time your visit is registered to ensure details about your visit are not forwarded to your family physician.
Outside the “circle of care,” non-clinical information about your visit (i.e. your name, address and location within the hospital) may be divulged in order to:
- Assist visiting family and friends to locate you
- Conduct fundraising campaigns through the hospital’s respective Charitable Corporations
- Conduct satisfaction surveys which allow us to monitor and improve quality
If you wish to be excluded from fundraising initiatives or satisfaction surveys, please notify the clerical staff at the time your visit is registered to ensure you are not included on mailing lists created for these purposes.
If you wish your presence at our hospitals to be concealed, please notify the clerical staff at the time your visit is registered to ensure only those within the “circle of care” will be aware that you are receiving treatment.
For more information about Halton Healthcare’s Privacy Policies, or to receive clarification on the above procedures, please contact our Privacy Officer.
Halton Healthcare follows the Ten Privacy Principles as outlined in the Federal “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” (PIPEDA) and the Ontario Provincial “Personal Health Information Protection Act” (PHIPA).
These principles are used below as a guide to our commitment to ensuring compliance.
The Privacy Officer is accountable for compliance with this policy, ensuring all existing and future policies meet legislative requirements.
All personnel employed by Halton Healthcare, Students, Volunteers and Physicians will receive orientation and training related to privacy policies and procedures and will sign the “Confidentiality Policy”, indicating their understanding and commitment to comply.
Halton Healthcare is responsible for personal information in its possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing. Halton Healthcare will use contractual or other means to provide a comparable level of protection while the information is being processed by a third party.
Halton Healthcare will identify the purposes for which personal information is collected at the time that information is collected. Posters and patient brochures will provide additional information. Personal Information is collected for the purposes of:
- Providing medical treatment
- Administration and management of the health care system
- Research, teaching and statistics
- Complying with legal and regulatory requirements
- Patient satisfaction surveys
Consent is required for the collection of personal information, and the subsequent use or disclosure of this information.
Personal information is only used for the provision of health care, to which there is either implied or expressed consent by the patient.
All individuals about whom personal information is collected, who do not wish to be included in fundraising initiatives, or patient satisfaction surveys, are required to inform the registration clerk, who will ensure they are excluded.
Anyone not wishing their information to be shared with their Family Physician need simply mention this fact at the time of their registration, and steps are taken to ensure the information is not shared with the Family Physician.
Halton Healthcare will limit the collection of personal information to that which is necessary for the purposes of providing health care and treatment. Information will be collected by fair and lawful means.
Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention
Personal information will not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law.
Personal information will be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.
Halton Healthcare has developed and implemented security safeguards to protect personal information against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification. Halton Healthcare is committed to the protection of all personal information, regardless of the format in which it is held.
Halton Healthcare will be open about its policies and practices with respect to the management of personal information. Information concerning policies and practices will be made available in a form that is generally understandable and easily accessible.
Upon request, a patient will be directed to the Privacy Officer, who will coordinate access to their personal information in accordance with this policy and related governing legislation (The Public Hospitals Act, the Mental Health Act, Personal Health Information Protection Act).
Halton Healthcare will respond to an individual’s request immediately, with access to be arranged within 10 working days of the request. Halton Healthcare may extend the time for responding if meeting the time limit would unreasonably interfere with the activities of Halton Healthcare.
A cost recoverable fee will be charged for copies of personal/health information.
Patients who wish to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information will be asked to document and sign an addendum–which will be affixed to their permanent patient file. Where appropriate, Halton Healthcare will transmit the amended information to third parties, who received the original documents
A patient will be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the Privacy Officer, who is accountable for Halton Healthcare compliance.
Halton Healthcare will investigate all complaints. If a complaint is found to be justified, Halton Healthcare will take appropriate measures to rectify the situation.
If a patient is not satisfied with the response from the Privacy Officer, he or she may have recourse to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario:
If you have a concern about the protection of your personal health information or personal information at Halton Healthcare, please contact our Privacy Officer.