At MGH, we take your privacy seriously. We are committed to ensuring that staff and patients understand the importance of privacy rights and obligations. The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) balances an individual’s right to privacy with the need of health care providers to access and share this information. PHIPA gives an individual the ability to control how his/her own personal health information is collected, used and disclosed.
Personal Health Information
At MGH we collect personal health information about you directly from you or from the person acting on your behalf. The personal health information we collect may include your name, date of birth, address, health card number and extended health insurance numbers, health history, records of your visits to MGH and the care that you received during those visits. Occasionally, we collect personal health information about you from other sources, if we have obtained your consent to do so or if the law permits.
How Personal Health Information Is Used and Shared
We use and disclose your personal health information to:
- Provide you with quality health care and follow-up care
- Conduct quality improvement activities (such as patient satisfaction surveys)
- Get payment for your treatment and care (from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), or others)
- Plan, administer and manage our internal operations
- Teach new health care providers and for education of current providers
- Conduct research (chart review)
- Compile statistics
- Conduct risk management activities
- Fundraise to improve our healthcare services and programs (only your name and address are given)
- Comply with legal and regulatory requirements, and fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law
How Personal Health Information is Protected
- We take steps to protect your personal health information from theft, loss and unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.
- We conduct audits and complete investigations to monitor and manage our privacy compliance.
- We take steps to ensure that everyone who performs services for us protects your privacy and only uses your personal health information for the purposes you have consented to.
Limiting Disclosure of Personal Health Information
Personal health information is disclosed as necessary for the purpose for which it is collected, with consent, and as required or permitted by law. This includes disclosure to your care providers to ensure continuity and coordination of care. If a patient has provided the doctor’s name, they will be notified if the patient is admitted to hospital and when they are discharged. Copies of reports and diagnostics are also sent to the family doctor. Please tell us if you do not want your family doctor to be notified or provided information about your hospital visit.
Disclosure is also permitted or required to the following:
- You, your legal guardian or substitute decision-maker
- To care providers to determine suitability for transfer to another facility and to provide for ongoing care
- To care providers to improve/maintain the quality of your care and of those provided similar care
- Registries and entities prescribed in regulation such as Cancer Care Ontario, the Cardiac Care Network, Canadian Stroke Network, INSCYTE, Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Services, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ontario Institute for Health Research and health regulatory agencies
- Health Information Networks such as the electronic Child Health Network (eCHN), Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS), Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS), Integrated Assessment Record (IAR), Patient Results on line (PRO), Connecting Ontario (cON)
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care e-health projects such as the Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) Wait Time Information System and Diabetes Testing Report
- Researchers if the research has been approved by our Research Ethics Board or authorized Board of Review such as the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board
- The Medical Officer of Health to report communicable diseases
- The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board
- Law enforcement officers who present a warrant or subpoena, or to aid in an investigation
- The Children's Aid Society where child abuse is suspected; the Children's Lawyer
- The Public Guardian and Trustee
- The Coroner
MGH is a member of the Health Information Networks noted above. These networks permit care providers, with patient consent, to securely share electronic patient health information for the purpose of providing timely and coordinated patient care.
About Health Information Networks
Child Health Network (eCHN)
Child Health Network (eCHN) is a secure electronic system for children's medical records. About 40 hospitals in Ontario are members of eCHN. Members provide eCHN with laboratory results, doctor's notes, x-rays and visit information as well as name, age, address and contact information. This means that if your child is provided care at any of these 40 facilities, or if your paediatrician has access to the system, the care provider may access their medical record on the electronic system. If you do not want your child's records included in the system, please tell us.
For more information please visit the Electronic Child Health Network website.
Hospital Diagnostic Image Repository Services (HDIRS)
Hospital Diagnostic Image Repository Services (HDIRS) permits hospitals to securely share exams and diagnostic images electronically. This protects patients because it avoids duplication of tests and thereby decreases the number of x-rays and other tests that expose patients to radiation. Please tell us if you do not want to participate in HDIRS.
For more information please visit the eHealth Ontario website.
Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS)
Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) is an electronic system managed by eHealth Ontario. It allows hospitals and community laboratories to securely share your lab test results with your health care providers. If you do not want your lab tests to be stored in OLIS, please tell us or call Service Ontario at 1-800-291-1406; TTY 1-800-268-7095.
For more information please visit the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care website.
Diabetes Testing Report (DTR)
Diabetes Testing Report (DTR) is designed to assist people living with diabetes. People with diabetes need to have three tests done every year. Health care providers notify the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care when tests are done and a DTR is created. A paper copy of the DTR is sent to your primary care provider to help ensure you receive the necessary tests every year. If you do not want to participate, please tell us or call Service Ontario at 1-800-291-1405; TTY 1-800-387-5559.
For more information please visit the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care website.
Patient Results Online (PRO)
Patient Results Online (PRO) consists of eight sites throughout the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN) that populate results in PRO. From each site a variety of lab results, patient chart notes, health records and tests will be available depending on the specific hospital site that the patient visited. The system is designed to permit health care providers to securely share patient information if the patient consents. It means, for instance, that when you visit MGH, your care provider will be able to view your health records from previous visits to other health care organizations that are participating. This enhanced access will make it easier for patients and their care givers to move more easily through the care journey. If you do not want to participate please tell us.
Integrated Assessment Record (IAR)
Integrated Assessment Record (IAR) is an electronic system that permits authorized health service providers to securely view a consenting client's assessment information for the purpose of planning and delivering the appropriate services. It supports a client-centred approach to service delivery by strengthening the ability of care providers to collaborate and to coordinate care. Assessments are only shared with consent. Please tell us whether or not you want to participate or call the IAR Consent Management Centre at 1-855-585-5279.
ConnectingOntario (cON) is an electronic system which includes a central clinical data repository that stores patient health information collected from multiple health care sources. The system is designed to permit health care providers to securely share patient information if the patient consents. It means, for instance, that when you visit MGH, your care provider will be able to view your health records from previous visits to other health care organizations that are participating in cON. Access to cON is restricted to those who provide or assist with providing patient care. This enhanced access will make it easier for patients and their care givers to move more easily through the care journey. The goal is to deliver better, timelier and more coordinated care to each patient. If you do not want your information shared through cON, please tell us.
For more information please visit the ConnectingOntario website.
CANADIAN TRIAGE AND ACUITY SCALE
Patients in the emergency department are sorted based on their level of urgency. This means that the sickest patients will see a doctor first. Nurses use the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) to let them know how long a patient can safely wait before they see a doctor.
eCATS is an tool that uses the guidelines from CTAS in Ontario hospitals. To improve patient safety and quality of care, some of your personal information will be shared with eCTAS. For example:
- Your age
- Why you came to the hospital
- Your vital signs
Your privacy is important to us. eCTAS has controls in place to make sure your information is safe. If you do not want to participate please tell us.
You may access, review and make necessary changes to your personal health records. If you are an inpatient, please speak to one of your health care providers. If you have been discharged, please contact the Health Records Department.
To withdraw your consent for any listed uses or disclosures, please contact the hospital’s Privacy Officer (subject to legal exceptions).
Michael Garron Hospital Foundation raises money to enhance the hospital’s programs and services. The Foundation may write to you when they are raising money, or send you mailings about their services or upcoming special events. If you do not wish to be contacted by the Foundation, please let us know at (416) 469-6821.
Use of Video Recording and Photography Devices
Our goal is to provide a comprehensive policy with respect to the use of video recording and photography devices within MGH facilities while recognizing the primary importance of the following:
- Providing safe and compassionate care to all patients; and
- Protection of privacy and confidentiality rights of patients, staff, physicians, volunteers, student learners, contractors and other members of the public, including patient visitors.