Privacy Statement

Privacy of Personal Health Information

Stevenson Memorial Hospital respects and values the confidentiality of its patients and the protection of personal information. A Privacy Policy is in place which provides extensive information on the  requirements for the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information.  The Patient Guide below provides an overview of the policy.

A Patient's Guide

Stevenson Memorial Hospital
200 Fletcher Crescent
P. O. Box 4000
Alliston, ON L9R 1W7
Phone: 705.435.6281
Fax: 705.434.5138
Web: www. smhosp. on. ca

In cooperation with Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario

(November 10, 2004)
Here is a printable Word document (.doc) version of this article.

What are Stevenson's Primary Purposes for Collecting Personal Health Information?

Stevenson's primary purposes for personal health information collection are related to the healthcare you will receive at Stevenson Memorial Hospital, and includes:

  • The delivery of patient care (including promotion of wellness, and the diagnosis, treatment and follow- up of illness).
  • Purposes that are required or permitted by law (e. g. to reduce a significant risk of harm to other persons).
  • Those which are typical for the operation of a community/ regional hospital. Such purposes include the teaching of new healthcare providers and the use of personal information for risk management and quality improvement activities (including sending patient satisfaction surveys), and to support our expense claims. They include the sharing of data with recognized institutions for health information management and its use for approved health research, typically only using data that cannot identify an individual.

They also include both the sharing of contact information (names and addresses) with the hospital's charitable foundation and advising visitors and callers of an individual's presence in hospital, unless he or she "opts- out."

Generally, personal information that is used or disclosed for "secondary" purposes (i. e. those not included in our description of primary purposes) is used or disclosed only with an individual's express consent. These would include:

  • Disclosures to certain healthcare providers or services who lie outside of an individual's obvious "circle of care." (Note: Even these may be given information without consent, in urgent circumstances.)
  • Health research where some personal identification of the subject is required and the hospital's research ethics committee requires that specific consent be sought.

Stevenson Memorial Hospital maintains a special partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, such that we use computerized health information systems in common.

Our Ten Privacy Principles

(Adapted from SMH's Privacy Policy)
ACCOUNTABILITY
Stevenson Memorial Hospital is responsible for personal information under its control and has designated an individual who is accountable for the organization's compliance with these principles.

IDENTIFYING PURPOSES FOR COLLECTION
Stevenson Memorial Hospital, at or before the time information is collected, will identify the purposes for which personal information is collected.

CONSENT
The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where permitted by law. An individual may withdraw consent at any time, subject to legal restrictions and reasonable notice. (Stevenson will inform the individual of the implications of any such withdrawal.)

LIMITING COLLECTION
The collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by Stevenson Memorial Hospital. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.

LIMITING USE, DISCLOSURE AND RETENTION
Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes.

ACCURACY
Personal information will be as accurate, complete, and up- to- date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.

SAFEGUARDS
Security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information will protect personal information.

OPENNESS
Stevenson Memorial will make readily available to individuals, specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

INDIVIDUAL ACCESS
Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

CHALLENGING COMPLIANCE
An individual will be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to Stevenson Memorial's Privacy Officer or, if necessary, to the Chief Executive Officer or to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Stevenson Memorial Hospital is grateful to Southlake Regional Health Centre and to St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. We have adapted their "Commitment to Patients" documents to meet our needs.

 


COMMITMENT TO PATIENTS REGARDING THE PRIVACY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

At Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) we respect your right to the privacy of your personal health information.

As our patient, you (or a person legally acting on your behalf) entrust us with your information about yourself. To honour that trust, we use and disclose this information for identified purposes (especially for "primary purposes" related to your care), and we protect it from misuse. Here are specific steps we take, to protect your privacy while delivering high-quality care and services.

  • We create and enforce policies and procedures to ensure that your personal health information is collected, used and/or disclosed for identified and legitimate purposes only. These policies and procedures conform with the law.
  • In order to ensure efficient and safe health care delivery, Stevenson Memorial Hospital assumes that it has your implied consent to handle your personal health information for the "primary purposes" related to your care. When it is appropriate, we will strive to obtain specific direction (i.e. express consent) for certain aspects of personal information handling (e.g. whether or not you wish to have messages left at a given phone number.)
  • When we collect your personal information, we only collect what we need for approved purposes. Required information would include things like your name, address, date of birth, health history, records of your visits and the care that you receive during those visits.
  • We keep the information only as long as it is needed or as required by law. We keep this information securely and confidentially. It is destroyed when it is no longer needed.
  • Stevenson Memorial Hospital staff who work with patient information are trained in how to appropriately use confidential information and understand that it is available to them only for use in your health care. A violation of confidentiality is not tolerated, with employee penalties ranging up to and including dismissal.
  • No matter how your information is stored - on computer, in writing, or some other way - we keep it in a safe and secure way that protects your privacy. We conduct investigations to monitor and manage our privacy compliance.


If you have questions . . .

Subject to legal exceptions, you may access and correct your personal health records. If you wish to do so while you are in hospital, please speak with your caregiver(s) who will direct your wishes and concerns to appropriate management.

Should you have such inquiries after you have been discharged, please contact the hospital's Health Information Services at 705.435.3377, extension 1276.

Subject to certain limitations, you may withhold or withdraw your consent for some of our identified uses and disclosures.

For example, you can "opt out" of sharing your name and address with the hospital's Foundation or having copies of results and notes sent to your family doctor by letting the admitting clerk who is registering you, know your wishes.

Please note that Stevenson's caregivers and staff can answer many of the questions you might have about the privacy of your personal health information. However, should you have questions that have not been answered to your satisfaction, please contact the Privacy Officer at 705.435.3377, extension 3220. Ultimately, if concerns persist, you may contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario at 1.800.387.0073.