Privacy

Your health information is collected and protected under Alberta’s Health Information Act

We respect your confidentiality and privacy. Your information is collected, used, disclosed and protected according to the provisions of provincial and federal legislation.  We limit the amount and type of personal health information we collect to that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified.  Your health information is collected by your physician and their team in accordance with section 20 of the Health Information Act (HIA). The purpose of this collection is primarily for:

  • Providing health services
  • Determining eligibility for health services
  • Processing payments for health services
  • Conducting research
  • Providing health services provider education
  • Internal management purposes to improve patient care

Information will be collected directly from you, except in the limited circumstances where we are authorized by the HIA to indirectly collect such information.

Personal health information may only be collected, used by or disclosed within the limits of each Team Member’s role. Team Members should not initiate their own projects to collect new personal health information from any source, or use it or disclose it without being authorized by a physician or the Family Health Team or the Privacy Officer.

Requesting Information Related to a Child

Did you know that a natural parent is not always entitled to information about their child?  In cases of parental separation, or mature minors, it can be difficult to know when a parent is allowed to receive information about the child.  

See our Custody Fact Sheet for more information.

If you are requesting information about a child, you will need to provide a formal signed request for the information needed, photo ID, and (if applicable) legal documentation proving custody status (sole or joint), a parenting order, a guardianship document, a court order, or signed consent from the primary parent/guardian.  

If your child is a mature minor, and has specifically asked us not to share their personal health information we will not release information at a parent's/guardian's request, except under specific circumstances.  

Requesting Information Related to a Spouse, Partner, Relative or Friend

A general rule is if we are disclosing personal health information to someone other than a health care provider for health care purposes, we need express consent. For example, if an employer, landlord, school, insurance company, or family member (who is not a substitute decision maker) would like health information about our patient, we need express written consent from our patient.

Requesting Information Related to a Deceased Individual

Deceased individuals are still protected by the Health Information Act, family members are not entitled to deceased individual's medical history and records.  Disclosure of information is only mandatory under certain circumstances.  

If you are requesting information about a deceased individual for the purpose of administration of the individual's estate or for an insurance claim, you will need to provide a signed request for information, photo ID and a copy of the document listing you as an executor.  

If your request is approved, information released will be limited to the minimum information required to carry out your request.  

If an individual had expressed their wishes to restrict sharing of their health records before they passed away, that request will be taken into consideration when determining when and how much information to share.  

Withholding or Withdrawal of Consent

If consent is sought, a patient may choose not to give consent (“withholding consent”).  If consent has been given, a patient may withdraw consent at any time in writing ("withdrawal of consent").   Withdrawal of consent cannot be retroactive.  

Health Record Retention

Health records are retained as required by law and professional regulations and to fulfill our own purposes for collecting personal health information.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) advise their members to retain health records for at least 10 years from the date of last entry or, in the case of minors, 10 years from the time the patient would have reached the age of majority (age 18). There may be reasons to keep records for longer than this minimum period.

Personal health information that is no longer required to fulfill the identified purposes is destroyed, erased, or made anonymous safely and securely.

Accuracy of Personal Health Information

We will take reasonable steps to ensure that information we hold is as accurate, complete, and up to date as is necessary to minimize the possibility that inappropriate information may be used to make a decision about a patient.

In the event that there is an error, you can request an amendment to your health record by completing and returning the Request to Amend Health Information form

Safeguards for Personal Health Information

We have put in place safeguards for the personal health information we hold, which include:

  • Physical safeguards (such as restricted office access, using alarm systems, keeping portable devices in a secure location when unattended);
  • Organizational safeguards (such as permitting access to personal health information by staff on a “need-to-know” basis only, and confirming patient contact information on a regular basis); and
  • Technological safeguards (such as the use of passwords, encryption, firewalls, anti-malware scanners and audits).

We require anyone who collects, uses or discloses personal health information on our behalf to be aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal health information. This is done through the signing of confidentiality agreements, privacy training, and contractual means.  

Care is used in the disposal or destruction of personal health information, to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to the information.

 Patients Right to Access their Personal Health Information

Patients may make formal requests to have access to their records of personal health information.  We will respond to a patient’s request for access within reasonable timelines and costs to the patient.  

Please Note: In certain situations, we may not be able to provide access to all the personal health information we hold about a patient. Exceptions to the right of access requirement will be in accordance with law. Examples may include information that could reasonably be expected to result in a risk of serious harm or the information is subject to legal privilege.

 

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