Privacy of Personal Information
At Homewood Health respect for the confidentiality and the privacy of our patients, clients, customers and colleagues is a cornerstone of our business. The confidentiality, privacy and security of personal information is assured through Homewood Health’s adherence to the Ten Privacy Principles as defined by the Canadian Standards Association and through compliance with Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and substantially similar provincial privacy legislation. In addition, Homewood Health employees are bound by a Confidentiality Agreement as a condition of employment.
Collection of your Personal Information
We collect your personal information directly from you, or from the person acting on your behalf. Depending on the treatment or services you access, the personal information that we collect may include, for example, your demographic information such as age, marital status, education status, health card number, psychiatric and health history, records of your interaction with Homewood Health and the services or care that you received during those visits. We only collect information we need to treat or provide service to you. Occasionally, we collect personal information about you from other health service providers, if we have obtained your consent to do so or if the law permits. We strive to keep your personal information as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as possible, taking into account its uses and your interests.
Uses and Disclosures of your Personal Information
We may use and disclose your personal information to:
- Treat and provide service to you. This may include obtaining and sharing your personal information with other health service providers involved in your treatment or services, either directly within our internal storage systems or where necessary, through secure provincial or community central storage systems. Sharing this information supplies health service providers with the most up-to-date information so they can coordinate your health care support and service planning;
- Your Substitute Decision-Maker to obtain consent for ongoing treatment or services if you are found incapable;
- Ensure safety if it is reasonable to believe that you or others are at serious risk of harm;
- Individuals inquiring about you (confirmation of your admission, your general status and location) if you are enrolled in an inpatient program, unless you tell us not to;
- Comply with regulatory requirements;
- Fulfill purposes permitted or required by law (i.e. subpoena, court order, search warrant, provincial Public Health Acts, Highway Traffic Acts, and Child and Family Service Acts). Should such a situation arise, reasonable efforts will be made to notify you;
- Receive payment for your treatment, care, and services (from your private insurer, guarantor, employer, provincial health insurance, etc.);
- Plan, administer, and manage our internal operations, including compiling statistics and conducting risk management activities;
- Conduct quality improvement activities independently, with Homewood Research Institute or with a third party (i.e. sending satisfaction surveys and chart reviews), unless you tell us not to;
- Teach and train staff, volunteers, and students;
- Conduct third-party research approved by the Research Ethics Board (individual identifiers are removed unless your permission is obtained to use identifiable information);
- Fundraise to improve healthcare services and programs including research and education (Homewood Health and/or its charitable organizations), subject to prescribed regulations and restrictions.
Your Choices – Access and Corrections
We will provide you with access to your records within the timeframe legislated under the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) or an applicable provincial privacy law declared substantially similar. We may also request an extension where provisions allow.
If, after reviewing your records, you demonstrate that they are factually incorrect or incomplete and are able to provide factually correct information, Homewood Health will endeavor to register the correction.
Custodians are not required to correct professional opinions or information received from others. If we are unable to make the correction, you may require that a Statement of Disagreement be attached to your record(s). You may also require that your disagreement, or any corrections that were made, be communicated to others involved in your treatment or services and to those to whom the information was previously released.
Consent – Conditions, Restrictions or Withdrawal
(subject to PIPEDA or substantially similar provincial privacy law exceptions)
Information is collected, used or disclosed based on your implied or express consent. While you may withdraw or place limits on your consent, doing so may prevent staff from accurately assessing your health or clinical status and may result in ineffective or insufficient treatment or service. Withdrawal of consent may also result in the funding for treatment or other services being revoked. When disclosing information for healthcare purposes under these circumstances, we must inform the requesting health care provider or referral source that information that might impact your care has been withheld. We may not be able to fulfill your wishes if they impact our ability to deliver health care services to you or if we are legislated to use or disclose the personal information to which you object.
Should this type of concern arise, we will discuss your objections with you. Please speak directly to your service provider, your treatment team or contact Homewood Health’s Privacy Office at (519) 824-1010 ext. 32443 or toll free at (800) 265-8310 ext. 32443.
Security of your Personal Information
- Personal information is kept secure and protected, and it is only viewed by trained and authorized people involved in delivering your health care services;
- We take steps to protect your personal information from theft, loss, unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure, and disposal;
- We conduct audits and complete investigations to monitor and manage our privacy compliance. Any suspected breach or unauthorized access is investigated. Individuals are notified at the first reasonable opportunity when a breach presents a risk of significant harm;
- We take steps to ensure that everyone who performs services for us protects your privacy and only uses your personal information for the purposes to which you have consented.
Retention and Destruction of Information
Your personal information is kept for as long as it remains necessary or relevant for identified purposes, or as required by law. Personal information that is no longer necessary or relevant for the identified purposes or required to be retained by law is destroyed according to Homewood Health policy. Information necessary for research and teaching purposes may be kept indefinitely.
As a patient or client, you may participate in therapy groups. You must not discuss group proceedings outside the group and/or program; to do so is considered a breach of confidentiality and may result in withdrawal from the program or service and/or discharge from Homewood Health. You may be asked to sign a group confidentiality agreement.
Substitute Decision Makers, Trustees, Executors, Custody and Access
Patients and clients have the right to ask for access to their personal information which resides under the custody and control of Homewood Health, subject to PIPEDA or substantially similar provincial privacy law requirements. If you are acting on behalf of another, documentation which supports your authority in this role is required prior to the release of personal information.
A printable version of Homewood Health’s Statement of Information Practices is available.