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Our Privacy Commitment to You

Southlake Regional Health Centre is committed to protecting your privacy, and the confidentiality of personal information/personal health information (“information”). Whether you are working for our hospital or visiting, you trust us with your information. To honour that trust, we are committed to using your information for legitimate purposes and take reasonable steps to protect it from theft, loss, unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.

As part of this commitment, Southlake has adopted the 10 Privacy Principles established by the Canadian Standards Association's Model Code for the protection of Information.

Southlake Regional Health Centre’s Privacy Principles:

1. Accountability

All Southlake staff, physicians, volunteers, and other agents are responsible for Information under their custody or control. Southlake’s Privacy Office oversees compliance with the Privacy Principles as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

2. Identifying Purpose

Southlake’s privacy practices are governed by PHIPA and FIPPA. In accordance with these Acts, we collect information about you either from you or from the person/organization authorized to act on your behalf.

Southlake also collects personal information though recorded images using our video surveillance system for safety and security operations at the hospital.

The information we collect from you is used and provided as reasonably necessary to:

  • Treat and provide care when visiting our hospital, including personal health information from both inpatient and outpatient services. This information may be shared among your doctors, nurses, residents, and all other health team members who provide care and assistance to you.
  • Obtain payment for your treatment and care.
  • Conduct quality improvement and risk management activities.
  • Conduct research as approved by the Research Ethics Board (and typically only using de-identified data).
  • Fundraise for the improvement of our programs and services (unless otherwise notified to not do so).
  • Plan, administer and manage our internal operations.
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Fulfill other purposes as permitted or required by law.
  • Compile statistics.
  • Conduct Patient Satisfaction Surveys (unless otherwise notified not to do so).
  • Notify a representative of a religious or other organization to visit you during your stay.
  • Notify you of an appointment or change an appointment.
  • Confirm that you are a patient, your general health status and your room and telephone extension while in the hospital (unless otherwise notified to not do so).
  • Locate you and your family in urgent/emergent situation using an overhead paging system.
  • As required by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
  • Share with prescribed person/entity who compiles or maintains a registry of personal health information for the purposes of facilitating or improving the provision of healthcare.
3. Consent

Southlake collects uses and discloses your Information with your knowledge and consent, except where otherwise required or permitted to do so by law.

In accordance with PHIPA, Southlake advises visitors and callers of an individual’s presence in hospital, unless the individual “opts-out” of those processes, usually at the time of registration.

If using information for “secondary” purposes (i.e. those not included in our list of primary purposes), Southlake will only do so with your expressed consent.

These would include:

  • Disclosures to certain healthcare providers or services that lie outside of your obvious “circle of care”.
  • Health research where some personal identification of your information is required and the hospital’s research ethics committee requires that specific consent be sought.
Any information that is used and disclosed must also comply with Southlake Regional Health Centre’s Privacy Policies. If you have any questions in regards to withdrawing consent for the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information, please speak to a member of your healthcare team or contact the Health Information Services or privacy departments.

 4. Limiting Collection

Southlake limits the collection of your Information to only those details that are necessary for the purposes identified. An individual is never deceived or coerced in order to obtain their consent.

5. Limiting Use, Disclosure, Retention

Your Information will only be used or disclosed for the purpose for which it was collected, unless you have otherwise consented, or when it is required or permitted by law. Southlake retains your Information for the period of time prescribed by our retention policy.

Disclosure is 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, the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Services, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ontario Institute for Health Research, BORN, Trillium Gift of Life 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) and Connecting Ontario.
  • Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care e-health projects such as the Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) and Wait Time Information System
  • Researchers if the research has been approved by our 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.

As noted above, Southlake Regional Health Centre participates in several health network initiatives. 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.

Shared Health Information Network Exchange (SHINE): a partnership between Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre and Stevenson Memorial Hospital that was developed to adopt a shared electronic medical record structure between the three hospitals. The first initiative of this partnership is the implementation of MEDITECH Expanse hospital information system (HIS). This shared solution creates seamless access to patient records for caregivers at all three hospitals.

CHILD Health Network (eCHN): a secure electronic system for children's medical records. About 40 healthcare providers 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, 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 www.echn.ca.

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): an electronic system managed by eHealth Ontario. It allows hospitals and community laboratories to securely share your lab test results with your healthcare 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.

Connecting Ontario: an electronic system managed by eHealth Ontario. It provides access to a majority of acute and community care data to improve the timeliness of care decisions, reduce duplicate tests and procedures, and better support care transition points. If you do not want your records included in the system please tell us. For more information visit http://www.ehealthontario.on.ca/en/for-healthcare-professionals/connectingontario.

HealthLinks: an electronic system that was created to allow health service providers to better serve patients with complex needs, allowing for the delivery of coordinated care services across the continuum of care. Personal health information being shared in this system requires a patient’s express consent. For more information visit /Default.aspx?cid=1340&lang=1

Admission, Location, Condition: Southlake will confirm that an individual is a patient in the hospital and provide location and general condition information unless there is an objection. We obtain consent at the first reasonable opportunity. If you do not want this information disclosed, please tell us and we will respect your wishes.

6. Accuracy

Southlake keeps information that is collected as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected. You can help us with this when you register for services by having the full name and current contact information for your family physician. This helps to ensure that reports are sent to the correct physician.

7. Safeguards

Southlake takes reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is protected. The following are some examples of the specific steps we take to protect your privacy while delivering safe, high-quality care:

  • Physical measures: for example, use of lockable filing cabinets and restricting access to offices;
  • Organizational measures: for example, limiting access to personal information on a “need-to-know” basis, providing privacy training, policies and procedures;
  • Technological measures: for example, the use of passwords, system access controls and encryption where appropriate;
  • Regular audits of system access and use, including appropriate disciplinary action for non-compliance with legal or hospital requirements governing access to information.

 8. Openness

Information about our privacy and confidentiality policies and practices is readily available upon request, as well as through materials located across the hospital.

9. Access

You have the right to access and/or correct records of your information. To obtain access and/or request a correction to your personal health information (i.e. medical records); please visit our Heath Information webpage www.southlakeregional.org/Default.aspx?cid=437&lang=1 .

For access to general records of personal information please proceed to the Freedom of Information webpage www.southlakeregional.org/Default.aspx?cid=525&lang=1 .

10. Challenging Compliance

For more information about our privacy practices, or to raise a concern you may have about these practices, please contact:

Privacy Office

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive
Newmarket, ON, L3Y 2P9
905-895-4521 ext. 2395
Email: privacy@Southlakeregional.org

You may also make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you believe we have violated your privacy rights. The Commissioner can be reached at:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON, M4W 1A8
Website: www.ipc.on.ca
Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre