Privacy of Personal Information
As a health care provider I must collect a certain amount of personal information from you in order to safely treat you. It is extremely important that this information be collected responsibly and that it only be disclosed to other individuals under appropriate circumstances. This document details your rights and how I protect your personal information.
What is personal information?
Personal information is information about identifiable individuals. Personal information includes information that relates to:
- an individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or telephone number, ethnic background, family status);
- health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them);
- activities and views (e.g., opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual).
Personal information is different from business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number). This is not protected by privacy legislation.
Who can see your health information?
When you request health care from me, I assume that I have your permission to collect, use and share that information with your other health care providers. This is limited only to those providers who you have actually seen for health care; other providers are not entitled to your information, except in the cases I have listed below.
If you do not want me to use, share or give out some or all of your personal health information to other people who provide you with health care, please inform me as soon as possible.
Others agencies or companies may need to see part of your health care information, such as your employer or your insurance company. However, I cannot share information with these companies without your express permission.
You may also have family or friends to whom you would like me to give more detailed information about your health, like how your treatment is working or what kind of care you will need at home. You can let me know if I can discuss your health with family and friends. I must have your consent in order to do so.
When Your Consent is Not Required
I am allowed or may be required to use and/or give out some of your personal health information without consent in the following situations:
- to report certain information, such as to report certain diseases to public health authorities
- when I suspect certain types of abuse
- to reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm to a person or the public
- to assist health researchers for research, as long as strict privacy requirements are met
- to improve or maintain the quality of care or any related program or service
for risk management and legal purposes
- to transfer or sell the professional practice to another person and to allow that person to assess the practice, so long as he or she signs an agreement to keep the information confidential and secure
- to assess a person’s ability to make health care and other important decisions
- for administration or enforcement of laws about the practices of health care providers, such as when my regulatory College (the CMTO) does a peer assessment with me
- for the purpose of a legal proceeding or complying with a court order, or other legal requirement
Marketing and Personal Information
Your personal information will never be provided to anyone for marketing purposes.
I understand the importance of protecting your personal information. For that reason, I have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked cabinet.
- Computers and backups are under supervision or secure in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers, and screens are locked when they are not in use.
- Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line, or has identifiers removed, or is encrypted.
Retention of Personal Information
I am required to retain personal information for some time to ensure that I can answer any question you may have about the services provided and for my own accountability to the Collect of Massage Therapists (CMTO).
I retain client files for 10 years, as required by the CMTO.
I destroy paper files containing personal information by shredding. I destroy electronic information by deleting it and, when the hardware is discarded, physically destroying the hard drive.
Viewing your own personal information
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information I hold about you. I will try to help you understand any information that may be unclear (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). If you would like a copy of your personal information, please make your request in writing. I reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests.
Some exceptions may apply. For example, when the information relates to law enforcement, legal proceedings or another individual, you may not get to see the record.
I must respond to your request as soon as possible and within 30 days. There may be a delay if I have to ask others about your records or if it will take time to find the record. You have the right to be notified of such delays. If you require the record urgently, please let me know and I will do my best to get it to you.
If you believe there is a mistake in your information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. You must make this request in writing, stating specifically what in your record is incorrect or incomplete.
Do note that I cannot correct a record that was created by someone else as I do not know enough about the record to change it. Also, I cannot correct details where, for example, the opinions or observations in the record were made in good faith. You are entitled to be told the reasons for not making a correction and of your right to have a statement of disagreement attached to your records. You can also ask to have this statement made available to those who see the record.
If I correct a record, it must be done carefully so that the full corrected record remains visible or by ensuring that the corrected version is readily available.