Pulse on Family Medicine - June 2015

Enhancing Privacy for Patients

On June 10, Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced enhanced privacy measures to protect patient information. The bill will be tabled in the fall and​ if it should pass, will mean that breaches in patient privacy will be more easily prosecuted and fines will be doubled. Given the evolution of shared electronic health records, and several recent breaches in protecting patient information, the government and the Information and Privacy Commissioner are putting new rules in place to ensure public trust in shared records.

A backgrounder from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term care noted the following changes that would take effect if the bill passes in the fall:

  • Establish privacy and security requirements for the shared Electronic Health Record
  • Clarify the authorities under which health care providers may collect, use and disclose personal health information in the Electronic Health Record
  • Support quality clinical care for patients by reducing medication errors that can arise for patients taking more than one drug
  • Outline rules respecting an individual's right to mask his or her personal health information through a consent directive
  • Clarify the limited circumstances under which a health care provider may override an individual's consent directive to reduce significant risk of serious bodily harm when timely consent is not possible
  • Establish an advisory committee whose role would be to make recommendations to the Minister on matters related to the Electronic Health Record
Until the new legislation takes effect later this year, please continue to safely manage your patient data .

We know that family physicians take the safety of their data management very seriously. The OCFP will continue to update members when the new legislation takes effect.

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