Privacy & Personal Health Information
What is Personal Health Information?
Personal Health Information (PHI) is recorded information about a person, including demographic and assessment information related to physical and mental health status, personal and family health history.
Why is my Personal Health Information Collected?
As ‘health care custodians’ we collect your health information for the purpose of providing you with Client-support services. Unless you, or an authorized person acting on your behalf tells us not to, we will use this information to develop a service or care-plan with you and to coordinate care amongst other health service providers involved.
How do you collect this information?
We collect this information directly from you through our intake and assessment process. We collect only the minimum amount of information required to provide you with our services and coordinate care. At times, we may ask for information from a person close to you (e.g. family member) where it is relevant or appropriate, but we only do so if we have your consent.
What about caregivers?
In situations where you have a primary caregiver (e.g. spouse or adult child) we may collect information about your caregiver’s physical and mental health status, if it potentially impacts upon your health and services. The personal health information we collect is minimal and it is only collected with the consent of the caregiver involved.
Do you share this information?
To better coordinate care and provide timely services within the community, we ask for your consent to share your personal health information with other health care providers also known as 'health care custodians' who are a part of your ‘circle of care.’ This includes members of our team at the Alzheimer’s Society of the Niagara Region or other health care providers involved. This may include, for example, your family doctor, the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Niagara Region Seniors Community Programs, or specialized teams such as the Geriatric Assessment Program, or Geriatric Mental Health Outreach.
Please direct us if you do not want us to communicate with other health care providers/custodians involved in your 'circle of care.'
Please note that we will not share your personal health information with family or friends unless we have specifically asked you for your consent to speak with each person on an individual basis.
What about consent for Assessment and Intervention?
Assessment is a process of gathering information about you and your situation to guide the intervention/ care-plan (e.g. the type of support or education that is appropriate). We will ask for your consent at the start of our assessment and throughout our assessment process. We will then develop the care-plan together to ensure it meets your needs and obtain your consent on an ongoing basis for each component of the care-plan.
You may withhold or withdraw your consent at any time. This will not impact upon the services you receive. Communicate your wishes directly to us (e.g. to your case counsellor).
Please note that we may share personal health information without your consent if we have reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is necessary to eliminate or reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm to you or others, or in situations where we are legally required to do so.
What are my privacy rights?
You have a right to privacy with respect to your own personal health information. We take reasonable steps to ensure that this information is as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary for the purposes for which it is used and shared.
We also take every reasonable step to ensure that information is protected from theft, loss and unauthorized use or disclosure. Records of personal health information are retained, transferred and disposed of in a secure manner and are reasonably protected against unauthorized copying, modification or disposal. You also have a right to access your health information records, and make corrections to your personal health information. Please direct these requests to our privacy officer.
What are the risks and benefits?
One potential benefit of sharing your personal health information amongst health service providers is better coordinated care for you, where all providers have up to date information to help them serve your needs. A potential risk is that information provided may impact upon the services you receive. For example, you may be declined a service by one organization if the information provided indicates that you do not meet their specific eligibility requirements. On the contrary, the information shared may also assist you to access services in a timely manner.
How do I file a complaint?
We encourage you to direct any concerns related to privacy and the handling of our personal health information to our organization’s privacy officer. If the matter cannot be resolved with our organization, contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario.
Where can I get more information?
To learn more about how personal health information is handled and shared with other Health Service Providers, contact the Privacy Officer at The Alzheimer Society Niagara Region.
PRIVACY RELATED CONTACTS
Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region
Mary Clark, MSW, RSW
Ph: 905-687-6856 ext. 526
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
80 Bloor Street West, Suite 1700
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V1
Ph: (416) 326-3333
Toll Free: 1-800-387-0073
Fax: (416) 325-9195
TTY: (416) 325-7539
Consent and Capacity Board
Greater Toronto Area
151 Bloor St. W., 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T5
Ph: 416- 327- 4142
TTY: 416-326- 7889
Fax 416-924- 8873
Outside Greater Toronto Area
Toll Free: 1-866-777- 7391