Privacy FAQs

What is Personal Health Information (PHI)?

Personal Health Information is “identifying information” collected about an individual. It includes information about an individual’s health or health-care history in relation to:

  • The individual’s physical or mental health, including family history;
  • The provision of health care to the individual;
  • Long-term care services;
  • The individual’s health care number;
  • Blood or body-part donations;
  • Payment or eligibility for health care; and
  • The identity of a health care provider or a substitute decision maker of the individual.

What is the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)?

The Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) is Ontario’s health-specific privacy legislation. PHIPA governs the manner in which personal health information may be collected, used and disclosed within the health care system. It also regulates individuals and organizations that receive personal information from health care professionals and confirms a patient’s right to access one’s own personal health information.

What is the “circle of care”?

The “circle of care” is not a defined term under PHIPA. It is a term of reference used to describe health information custodians and their authorized agents who are permitted to rely on an individual’s implied consent when collecting, using, disclosing or handling personal health information for the purpose of providing direct health care. In a hospital, the circle-of-care includes: Attending physician and Health Care Team (i.e., residents, nurses, technicians, clinical clerks, and employees assigned to the patient) who have direct responsibilities of providing care to the individual.

Why does Lakeridge Health collect personal health information about me?

In order for Lakeridge Health to provide you with the best quality care, we collect personal health information from you or someone who has been designated your substitute decision-maker. LH may also access personal health information from other health care organizations and professionals that are involved in your current episode of care.

How does Lakeridge Health use my personal health information?

Your health information may be used for the following purposes:

  • To provide you with healthcare services. Your visit to the hospital may include a number of assessments, tests and treatments. All of this information is recorded in the health record and made available to those involved in your care. LH keeps a history of your health information for future care.
  • To comply with legal and regulatory requirements. For example, we collect your health insurance number because it is required to fund health care services.
  • To perform continuous quality improvement activities. For example, we carry out patient satisfaction surveys.
  • To support LH’s research programs. Researchers working on approved studies can have access to health information, provided that consent and privacy issues have been addressed.
  • To support LH’s educational activities. Health information is used for teaching purposes with measures taken to protect privacy and confidentiality.

Who does Lakeridge Health share my personal health information with?

Lakeridge Health may disclose (share) your personal health information to:

  • A relative, friend or potential substitute decision-maker if you are injured, incapacitated, ill or unable to give consent personally.
  • Other healthcare providers involved in your care.
  • Health regulatory agencies (for example, OHIP for billing).
  • Provincial networks and registries as permitted by law (for example, Cancer Care Ontario)
  • Public authorities as permitted and required by law.
  • Any third party, provided you have consented to the disclosure or as required by law.
  • Visitors or callers* so they can locate you in the hospital (Information is limited to the confirmation that you are a patient, your general health status, and your location within Lakeridge Health).
  • Foundations supporting Lakeridge Health* (Information is limited to your name and contact information).
  • A religious or spiritual advisor who may visit you in the hospital* (Information is limited to your name and location within Lakeridge Health)

*If you do not want information disclosed for these purposes, please advise the staff member registering you, a member of the healthcare team, or contact the Manager, Privacy & Records Management.

Will the hospital disclose my personal health information to my employer or other third parties?

Unless the disclosure is permitted or required by law, the hospital requires your consent to disclose health information to any organization or person not directly involved with the provision of your care.

How does Lakeridge Health protect my personal health information?

  • We audit/monitor the electronic health record regularly.
  • We investigate any complaints about our privacy practices and take appropriate measures to resolve such complaints.
  • Privacy awareness training is provided to all new staff in orientation and is available to existing staff through a variety of forums.
  • All staff to wear photo identification badges to protect against unauthorized individuals accessing information.
  • Your health records are kept in controlled areas with limited access.
  • We have security measures such as user names and passwords for all electronic records.

Our goal is to make sure that everyone working with us understands their privacy responsibilities and is aware of the rules and regulations.

Does Lakeridge Health sell patient information?

No. Lakeridge Health does not sell, barter or trade any patient information with anyone.

How do I access my personal health information?

We respect your right to access your own health information. To access your information contact the Health Information Management Department through our Release of Information (ROI) Specialists.

How long will it take to receive the information after submitting a request?

All requests will be addressed in less than 30 days, unless there are specific circumstances requiring additional days. If an extension is required, the requester will be notified as soon as possible.

How do I report a privacy concern?

Any individual with a privacy concern may report it directly to the Privacy Officer by mail, telephone, fax, or email. The concern will be investigated and followed-up as needed.

To discuss issues relating to Lakeridge Health’s information handling procedures please provide the following information to the Privacy Office:

  • Name
  • Contact information (telephone, address, or email)
  • The nature of the concern including a detailed description of the suspected violation/breach

Issues will be reviewed by the Privacy Office including conducting systems audits and consulting with other staff as appropriate.

Individuals have the right to raise their concerns with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if they are not satisfied with the response from Lakeridge Health.

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
Tel: 800-387-0073

Can I request non-healthcare personal information and/or business information?

Under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), any member of the public may request access to record’s held by Lakeridge Health on or after January 1, 2007. Individuals have a right of access to their own personal information contained in records held by the hospital, subject to the limited and specific exemptions to access set out in FIPPA.