The University of Ottawa Health Services (UOHS) is committed to protecting individual privacy and the confidentiality of the personal health information it holds. This notice describes how health information about you may be used, collected, and disclosed and how you can access this information, in compliance with Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
Your Health Record
Your health record includes information relevant to your health including your date of birth, contact information, health history, family health history, details of your physical and mental health, record of your visits, the care and support you received during those visits, results from tests and procedures, and information from other health care providers.
Information regarding your health card visits is recorded in your electronic health record - it is stored in UOHS' Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system which is password and firewall protected. This includes information from visits to the walk-in clinic, to allied health professionals (i.e. mental health counsellor, pharmacist, etc.), to specialists (i.e. allergist, gynecologist, psychiatrist, etc.) and to primary care providers at UOHS. All members of our healthcare team have access to electronic health records.
All staff and providers receive mandatory privacy training during orientation and on an ongoing basis. All staff and providers sign a privacy and confidentiality agreement during orientation and annually. Electronic Health Records are audited for unauthorized use and/or access as per UOHS' EMR Audit Policy.
The information in your health record belongs to you, but the health record itself is the property of the University of Ottawa Health Services [Explanatory note: based on case law, health information custodian owns the physical or electronic records].
With limited exceptions, you have the right to access the health information we hold about you, whether in the health record or elsewhere. If you request a copy of your record, one will be provided to you at a reasonable cost. If you wish to view the original record, one of our staff members must be present, and a reasonable fee may be charged for this access. If you need a copy of your health record, please contact our Health Records Department in writing at: 100 Marie Curie Private, suite 300, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5. In rare situation, you may be denied access to some or all of your record (with any such denial being in accordance with applicable law and as per PHIPA).
We make every effort to ensure that all of your information is recorded accurately. Please let us know if there is something that is incorrect. You have a right to ask for a correction to your record if you disagree with what is recorded, and in most cases we will be able to make the requested correction, or otherwise we will ask you to prepare a statement of disagreement to be attached to the record.
We collect, use and disclose (meaning share) your health information to:
- Treat and care for you
- Deliver our programs
- Plan, administer and manage our internal operations
- Be paid or process, monitor, verify or reimburse claims for payment
- Provide appointment reminders to you
- Conduct risk management, error management and quality improvement activities
- Educate our staff and students
- Respond to or initiate proceedings
- Conduct research (subject to certain rules)
- Compile statistics
- Allow for the analysis, administration and management of the health system
- Comply with legal and regulatory requirements
- Fulfil other purposes permitted or required by law
Our collection, use and disclosure (sharing) of your personal health information is done in accordance with Ontario law.
You have a right to make choices and control how your health information at the UOHS is collected, used, and disclosed, subject to a few exceptions. (Patient Lockbox Request Form)
For most health care purposes, your consent to use your health information is implied as a result of your consent to treatment, unless you tell us otherwise. We may also collect, use and share your health information in order to communicate or consult with other health care providers about your care unless you tell us you do not want us to do so.
You have the right to ask that we not share some or all of your health record with one or more of our staff members or ask us not to share your health record with one or more of your external health care providers (such as a specialist). This is known as asking for a “lockbox”. It is important to note that there may be an impact on our ability to provide you with the best care if our healthcare professionals cannot access your health record. For this reason, we ask that you discuss this with your family doctor first.
There are other circumstances where we are not allowed to assume we have your consent to share information. For example, we must have your permission to give your health information to people who do not provide you with health care, including health professionals in the Organization not involved in your care, your insurance company or your employer. We may also need consent to communicate with any family members or friends with whom you would like us to share information about your health (unless one or more of these individuals is your substitute decision-maker).
When we require and ask for your consent, you may choose to say no. If you say yes, you may change your mind at any time. Once you say no, we will no longer share your information unless you say so. Your choice to say no may be subject to some restrictions under applicable law and reasonable notice.
There are cases where we may collect, use or disclose your health information without your consent, as permitted or required by law. For example, we do not require your consent to use your information for billing, risk management or error management, quality improvement purposes; or to disclose personal health information in a number of permitted or required circumstances, including to eliminate or reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm; or to fulfil mandatory reporting obligations under other laws such as for child protection or safe operation of a motor vehicle.
For More Information or Complaints
If you have any questions or concerns about our privacy practices we invite you to contact our Privacy Officer at:
UOHS Privacy Officer
100 Marie Curie Private, suite 300
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
If, after contacting us, you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Commissioner can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
or visit the IPC website